Spar development

UK and German engineers at GKN Aerospace have successfully completed the next stage in the development of advanced composite rear wing spars for A350 XWB aircraft.


UK and German engineers at GKN Aerospace have successfully completed the next stage in the development of advanced composite rear-wing spars for A350 XWB aircraft.



The work forms part of the company’s A350 XWB contract with Airbus for the supply of composite fixed trailing-edge assembles and spars.



The company is already responsible for the composite wing spar for the A400M military transporter. According to GKN, however, this is the first project of its kind to use composite materials to manufacture wings for a large transport aircraft.



Composite development work is being undertaken by GKN Aerospace engineering teams in Munich and on the Isle of Wight and in Filton, with the prototype assembly taking place in Yeovil.



The series manufacture of the composite spars and the trailing-edge assemblies will be undertaken by the GKN Aerospace Filton workforce using a new manufacturing facility that the company is now equipping for the task.



Frank Bamford, senior vice-president for business development and strategy at GKN Aerospace, said: ‘The A350 XWB wing spar is a major new package of work for our new Filton team, who are currently detailing the processes, securing the capital equipment and training our people to take on the advanced automated manufacturing processes required.



‘Our A350 XWB work is running on schedule to highly focused timescales and we expect manufacturing activity to commence at Filton within 12 months,’ he added.



The A350 XWB’s latest milestone follows GKN’s recent announcement that it will cut 91 positions in its aerospace division, including 56 jobs, as a result of the closure of the Aerospace Services site in Burnley and 35 in Luton.


The job losses form part of the £120m restructuring costs announced on 28th January 2009.