Centurion-based Aerosud has again proven its standing in the international aerospace industry by winning an open tender for components on Airbus Military’s new generation A400M airlifter.
The company will be responsible for cockpit and fuselage interior linings, wingtips and galleys over the full lifecycle of the A400M programme, headquartered in Seville, Spain.
Historically, successful military transport aircraft programmes have run for over 50 years and the contract, making Aerosud a Tier One supplier in its own right with design, engineering and manufacturing responsibilities, will see sustained work, jobs and export revenues for South Africa.
Aerosud’s winning bid underlines Airbus’ belief in South Africa’s aerospace industry. The South African aeronautical industry’s total economic impact is largely driven by Airbus programmes. Airbus has so far contracted work to South African industry worth about R4 billion. In 2012 the value of Airbus-related manufacturing activity in South Africa amounted to around R350 million at current exchange rates. This contribution to South Africa’s industry and economy is on track to more than double this year following the placement of additional work packages in late 2012 and earlier this year with Denel Aerostructures. Airbus expects significant growth going forward with this new Aerosud contract and other envisaged additional sourcing in South Africa.
Aerosud will manufacture the A400M interior linings from advanced composite and metallic materials tailored to meet stringent military specifications and requirements. The wingtips are complex elements and have been engineered and produced for aerodynamic efficiency. At the same time they house some of the aircraft’s critical self-protection and safety devices.
Aerosud has installed a Continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermo-form Plastic (CFRTP) press at its premises on the eastern side of AFB Waterkloof. This represents a R13.6-million capital investment and provides unique capabilities for the A400M programme. The CFRTP is one of the most capable of its kind available to the global aerospace industry.
“While the CFRTP press has been developed and installed primarily for the A400M programme, it positions Aerosud – and South Africa – to expand its business with Airbus in this specialised manufacturing niche,” said Aerosud managing director Paul Potgieter.
Aerosud is no stranger to Airbus being a key supplier of components for the European giant’s commercial products. It manufactures avionics racks for the successful A320 family of single-aisle jet aircraft, flap-track cans for the A320 family and for the new, A350XWB long-haul airliner. It also makes fuselage frame-clips for the A350XWB programme. These secure the skin panels covering the aircraft’s body to its skeleton-like frame of ribs and stringers.
The Aerosud/Airbus relationship goes back to the early 2002, a point made by Simon Ward, Airbus vice president international co-operation, who said Potgieter’s company was “a can do it” one.
“Having established its credentials and demonstrated its capabilities, step by step we have enhanced our relationship and this has continued to develop new workload for Aerosud, not just in terms of volume but also technological complexity.
“Airbus is in South Africa as a true long term partner, and we are committed to working with our industrial partners with the common goal to develop the Aerospace industry in South Africa,” he said.