Exelis has announced its won a multimillion dollar contract from Airbus to manufacture the centre wing box struts for the A350–1000 aircraft.
The composite struts help distribute load from the wings and fuselage into the centre wing box providing structural support for the airframe. Using a patented manufacturing technology called STaR (Struts, Tubes and Rods) that was licensed by Exelis from Bodair S.A the unique strut design provides a high strength-to-weight ratio alternative to metallic struts and, according to the company has greater weight savings when compared with rival composite production methods.
Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures said;
With significant weight savings and reduced maintenance costs, composite structures and components continue to replace traditional metallic structures on next-generation aircraft, and the Airbus A350 XWB is a prime example. We are positioned to meet the growing market demands and provide our customer with significant value through our Exelis StaR product line, delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions at a high rate of production.
The Airbus A350–1000 is the longest fuselage version of the Airbus wide-body jetliners, as with the other A350 XWB family members, the A350–1000 combines the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to realise a 25% saving in fuel compared to its current aluminium long-range competitor.
Deliveries of the new parts are scheduled to begin in 2016 and will continue through 2020.