Composite contract

Atkins Nedtech has been awarded a contract by Airbus Germany to design composite components for the inboard flap of the new A350 XWB aircraft.


Using composite materials is an important step forward because they lower overall aircraft weight and therefore reduce carbon emissions. The win is a key step in the development of Atkins’ business across Europe and recognition for the company’s composites expertise.


The A350 XWB is Airbus’ next passenger aircraft; it is currently in the design phase and scheduled to come into service in 2013. It will be the first aircraft to have a wing made entirely of carbon composites.


All three Airbus A350 XWB family members will share the same wing platform – with a 64.7m wingspan, a total area of 442m2, and a high-swept leading edge. In addition, the internal wing structure will be scaled to meet the specific requirements of each aircraft variant.


Innovative concepts are being applied to the A350 XWB wing’s high-lift devices (flaps, slats and spoilers) that will reduce noise and drag while also improving the aircraft’s low-speed performance.


One of these is the stream-wise deployment of trailing-edge flaps. On a traditional swept-wing jetliner, the outboard flaps extend at an angle to the airflow. For the A350 XWB, flap deployment is along the direction of flight – resulting in better lift efficiency and improved low-speed performance, while reducing aerodynamic-generated noise.