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GKN Wins Composite Wing Spar Contract

  • Monday, 15th March 2004
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GKN Aerospace is to design, develop and supply complex carbon wing spars for the Airbus A400M future military airlifter program.

This $110m contract was gained in the face of tough international competition, and has great strategic significance for GKN Aerospace as it represents the first application of carbon composite technology for primary structures on a large transport aeroplane wing.

Frank Bamford, Director of Sales and Marketing, GKN Aerospace (Europe) adds: “”This contract award is a clear demonstration of the confidence Airbus feels in our ability to meet their demanding requirements in complex composite structures. It is also an endorsement of the considerable investment GKN Aerospace has made in composite technologies and processes across its sites world-wide. The A400M work represents a major step for us in our drive to maintain our technology leadership in composite aerostructures.””

To fulfill this contract, GKN Aerospace will take full advantage of recent developments in material and process applications. In the manufacturing process, the Company will use the very latest technology in automated tape laying (ATL), applying existing ATL experience together with a new manufacturing approach that will provide significant program and cost benefits.

A400M sets new standards for military aircraft procurement in Europe with a single contract for development and production. Following design and development phases of the contract, first deliveries of the composite spars will take place in mid 2005 and will continue through 2021. Global exports are expected to lead to total production several times the original value over more than 30 years.

GKN Aerospace is today the world’s leading independent supplier of composite structures to the aerospace sector. Work for the A400M will be carried out at the Company’s center of excellence for composite development and production at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK, and will build upon the expertise gained on the A380 Wing Trailing Edge package currently in production at GKN Aerospace, as well as the Company’s successful collaboration with Airbus on the spars for the TANGO composite wing demonstrator program.


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