Airbus wings made in UK

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Final assembly of the first set of wings for MSN001, the first A400M military transport aircraft, has begun at Airbus' Filton site in Bristol.

The A400M features the first-ever composite, carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) wingbox for an Airbus-built aircraft, and it is also believed to be the largest composite wing ever made.

The wing box consists of pre-assembled leading and trailing edges made of composite spars, metallic ribs and 20 metre-long composite wing skins which incorporate integrated stringers (longitudinal stiffeners). These components all commenced final assembly in a dedicated facility at Filton on 20th July.

After final assembly of the whole wingbox, each wing will be fully equipped with hydraulic, pneumatic, fuel and electrical systems and fitted with moving surfaces. It will then be fully tested before delivery to the A400M aircraft final assembly line in Seville, Spain. The first wing deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2007. The first six sets of aircraft wings and the fatigue and static test wings will also be specially equipped with additional instrumentation and other equipment for flight test and ground testing the whole aircraft in due course.

The A400M military transport aircraft will first fly in 2008, with deliveries beginning from 2009.