GE Aviation, Hamble has achieved a major program milestone with the delivery of its initial production wing fixed trailing edge components for the first A350 XWB to fly – ‘MSN001.’ The first A350 XWB-MSN001 is now structurally complete and is currently undergoing ground testing in Toulouse.
The A350 XWB wing fixed trailing edge package is the largest production contract awarded in GE Aviation Hamble’s 75-year history, comprising more than 3,000 components that include structural composite panels and complex machined assemblies. The A350 XWB has a total wingspan of more than 64 meters.
“This delivery start up results from major achievements at GE Aviation in design and manufacturing – bringing together new tool sets, materials and technologies, while also involving concurrent engineering with global suppliers to obtain material and long-lead items in unprecedented timescales,” said Steve Walters, executive product leader for GE Aviation’s aerostructures and nacelle activities. “We have proved our capabilities and have created a secure foundation to build on for the future.”
GE Aviation will provide the wing fixed trailing edge for all three A350 XWB family members: the A350-800, -900 and -1000.
The company began its work on the wing components in October 2008, progressing from a very basic conceptual design while enhancing its management to address the project’s magnitude. In addition to increasing the scope of GE Aviation’s own technical capabilities, the company involved a global design team that included GE Aviation resources in Poland and India.
“During the program, GE Aviation, as risk-sharing partner, developed a close working relationship with Airbus, as the aircraft manufacturer providing advice, assistance and support that enabled us to meet this major delivery milestone,” Walters added.
In addition to major investments already implemented at the Hamble-le-Rice factory in Southampton, Hampshire for A350 XWB production, the site will see further enhancements with the creation of a new composites facility dedicated to this Airbus program.