Denel Aerostructures (DAe) is in the process of receiving a third work package from Airbus Military to build tail plane ribs and spars for the A400M airlifter. The company is currently ramping up A400M component production as the aircraft approaches service entry.
The CEO of DAe, Ismail Dockrat, said at the Farnborough 2012 International Airshow that the A400M has gone into serial production mode.
Up to now DAe has been producing parts to meet Airbus’ requirements for the flight testing of its prototype aircraft. The assembly line in Seville, Spain, is currently working on the second serial aircraft, to be delivered to the French Air Force in early 2013.
The ramp-up means that Denel Aerostructures will increase production of its parts to meet Airbus demand of around 24 aircraft per year over the next two years and growing to more than two per month in the subsequent years. The new work package will see DAe produce tail plane rib and spar components out of composite materials.
Dockrat said the company will also use the Farnborough exhibition to sign an agreement with UK-based SKF which will manufacturer specialised struts that are attached to the Wing-to-Fuselage-Fairing.
DAe was involved in the A400M from the start and designed the parts from scratch according to the manufacturers’ specifications. The manufacturing involves cutting-edge engineering processes including high-speed machining, heat treatment, structural testing and stress analysis.
DAe is one of a select few companies outside of Europe responsible for the design and manufacturing of prime parts for the A400M. It is responsible for the design, certification and manufacturing of the Wing to Fuselage Fairing, positioned on the fuselage around the centre wing portion, certified to provide protection against lightning strikes, hail damage and bird strikes.
DAe also produces the Top Shells – made up of more than 1 100 parts consisting of a large machined skin, engineered out of an aluminium alloy. Each aircraft is fitted with two top shells, positioned in front of, and behind the wings where it is join into the fuselage. The 900 system brackets support the vital electric and electronic wiring, hot air and heat exchange piping and include the aircraft’s life-rafts.
On a recent visit to South Africa, Cedric Gautier, the Head of the A400M programme, said DAe is “one of Airbus’s most reliable suppliers for the manufacturing of the A400M. We are pleased with the quality of workmanship and the engineering know-how available in the company.”
Dockrat said the company’s participation in the manufacturing of the A400M is “a vote of confidence in the quality of local engineering and the skills of the work force.”
He added that Farnborough is an opportunity to showcase Denel Aerostructures’ unique experience and capabilities to a wider audience in both the military and civilian markets.
“We have experience in the design and manufacturing of strategic and prime parts on some of the world’s leading aircraft including the Airbus A400M, the Saab Gripen fighter plane, the Agusta A109 Light Utility Helicopter and the globally popular Gulfstream G150 executive jet,” said Dockrat.