Airbus says the manufacture of the composite lay-up for the A350 XWB on Friday in Nantes France, marks the “coming to life” of the new long range aircraft.
This panel for the centre wing-box (CWB), entirely made of carbon, has a surface area of 36 square meters, making it the largest “monobloc” composite panel ever manufactured. Once assembled in Nantes, the CWB will be delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire for integration.
“This key milestone for the A350 XWB programme has been made possible through Airbus’ methodical and evolutionary approach to incorporating composites in its aircraft, and the consequent experience gained over many years,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.
Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB programme added that the “A350 XWB is becoming real, and further builds on our expertise in key areas such as materials technology; predictive stress analysis and design; composite manufacturing and composite engineering and assembly, including manufacturing processes and tool technology concepts.”
The A350 XWB Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8300nm (15 400km), it is available in three basic passenger versions. Moreover, it has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs, raising environmental constraints and lowest seat-mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment.
Firm orders now stand at 505 from 32 customers worldwide.