Black empowered SA aerospace company Aerosud is to benefit from a new Airbus production line opened line in Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, in China, yesterday; the first ever outside of Europe.
The project is a joint venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) and is optimised for the A320 family of twin-engined 100 to 200-seat jetliners used mainly on short-haul domestic and regional flights.
Pretoria-based Aerosud has long made components for the aircraft`s European production lines and will now benefit from the Chinese line as well, says programme director Rob Jonkers.
Every A318, 319, 320 and 321 (the complete family) includes to Aerosud-built voltage unit (VU) racks, 24 slat track cans and an assortment of sheet metal parts that go into the wing.
Jonkers says the one VU rack carries the aircraft`s mission computers and the other a set of relays and circuit breakers.
The slat track cans protrude into the aircraft`s wing fuel tanks and isolates the actuator motors that drive the slats – a hinged curved flap that is extended in front of the wing giving it extra lift during take-off, climb and final descent.
There are 12 cans in each wing, with each can in the set built to a specific shape and design.
The Chinese line will produce up to four aircraft a month by 2011.
Aerosud is also heavily involved in the Airbus Military A400M Loadmaster medium turboprop transport programme, of which up to 180 are currently on order for nine air forces, including SA`s.
The SA Air Force ordered eight of the aircraft in 2004 at a cost of €837 million with an option for six more.
Jonkers says Aerosud is manufacturing the plane`s wingtip structure, galley and internal cladding. Denel Aerospace Systems is also involved in the Loadmaster programme.