New UK Airbus facility to accelerate development of next generation wings

Aerospace giant Airbus has officially opened a new Wing Technology Development Centre (WTDC) at its site in Filton, near Bristol.  

Inside Airbus' new Wing Technology Development centre
Inside Airbus' new Wing Technology Development centre - Airbus

According to the company the facility will be used to build and test demonstrators for a range of programmes and will help accelerate the design, build and testing of wings for next generation aircraft.  

Alongside engine optimisation, making wings longer, leaner and lighter is one of the biggest opportunities to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 and ultimately work towards the aviation industry’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Airbus Head of Filton site and Wing of Tomorrow Programme Sue Partridge said: “The new Wing Technology Development Centre will help us to ground our research in practicality. A key element of how we deliver technology for next generation aircraft wings is through Wing of Tomorrow (WoT), our largest research and technology programme led by the team in the UK.  Last week, we achieved a critical milestone in the programme when our second wing demonstrator was completed by the team in Broughton, Wales and delivered to the WTDC. Here it will be prepared for structural testing in our Aerospace Integrated Research and Technology Centre (AIRTeC)."

The WTDC adds to Airbus' existing research and technology footprint in the UK, including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Broughton and both the ZEROe Development Centre and Aerospace Integrated Research & Test Centre (AIRTeC) at its Filton site.

Since 2014, Airbus has been awarded £117 million by the Aerospace Technology Institute for Wing of Tomorrow related research. Key full-scale demonstrators developed through the programme include a static wing demonstrator, which is used to test structural capabilities of new designs and materials; a fully-equipped demonstrator used to test installation technologies and a  Run@rate demonstrator, which is helping Airbus engineers  explore the technologies required to build new wings at the scale and speed required.