GKN Aerospace have been selected to provide Bell Helicopter with key composite structures across the new 525 Relentless helicopter fuselage.
The work will be split by two GKN facilities in North America, the St Louis site will supply complex machined aluminium bulkheads, frames and spars and the Tallassee site will produce composite structure including skins, bulkheads and frame assemblies.
This major work package includes composite and aluminium fuselage panels and structural parts installed in the cockpit, cabin and tailboom. Manufacture will begin in late 2012 with initial deliveries scheduled for 2013 and continuing through to the end of 2015.
Kevin Cummings, CEO – GKN Aerospace, North America commented:
GKN Aerospace engineers have worked closely with the Bell Helicopter team through the structural design phase of this programme. Together we have met the demanding weight and performance requirements for structures and assemblies that will equip this airframe from tip to tail – and whose manufacture will exploit our expertise across composite manufacture and metal machining. We are extremely proud to play our part in the creation of this first in a new class of ‘Super Medium’ helicopters.
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GKN Aerospace is the aerospace operation of GKN plc, serving a global customer base and operating in North America, the Asia Pacific and Europe. With sales of GBP1.5bn, the business is focused around three major product areas – aerostructures, propulsion systems and transparencies, plus a number of specialist products – electro-thermal ice protection, fuel and flotation systems, and bullet resistant glass. The business is equally split along military and civil lines with significant participation on all major aircraft programmes today. GKN Aerospace is a major supplier of complex composite structures; offers one of the most comprehensive capabilities in high performance metallics processing and is the world leading supplier of cockpit transparencies and passenger cabin windows.