Denel Aerostructures (DAe) has received another work package, to supply cargo door toes for the Airbus Defence and Space A400M airlifter, bringing its number of A400M work packages to six.
The toes comprise three aluminium panels that fit on the end of the aircraft’s cargo ramp. The new contract is not with Airbus Defence and Space directly but one of its suppliers, Stelia Aerospace (formerly Aerolia and Sogerma), a new customer for DAe. The contract was signed in November 2014, with industrialisation beginning in February this year. First deliveries are scheduled to take place on 21 August.
Stelia Aerospace placed an order with DAe for 100 of the cargo ramp toes in a contract worth $1.6 million. Theo Kleynhans, CEO of Denel Aerostructures, said that although it is not a large contract, the cargo door work package is a foot in the door with a new customer and should advance DAe’s prospects on the commercial side as Stelia Aerospace does a lot of commercial work that DAe could become involved in.
DAe makes five different A400M sections: the Wing To Fuselage Fairing (WFF), Top Shells, ISO locks, Central Guide Vehicle Restraint System (CGVRS) and Ribs, Spars and Swords (the skeletal support structure) for the vertical tail plane. Denel Aerostructures increased WFF and top shell production rates from 16 ship sets in 2013/14 to 24 ships sets in 2014/15.
Kleynhans pointed out that DAe has over the last two years delivered 47 consecutive WFF ship sets on time and in quality and has been acknowledged by Airbus as one of the best performers in its A400M supply chain. Although defence work is important to the company, DAe aims to balance its product portfolio by diversifying into the commercial sector, especially the single aisle airline market.
Kleynhans said the new contract was part of Denel Aerostructure’s diversification strategy which seeks to remain focussed on niche advanced manufacturing technologies but expanding its customer base to include Airbus and Boeing Tier 1 suppliers. DAe is also engaging with Saab, Spirit Aerosystems, FACC, GKN and others in this regard.