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Thu, Aug 04, 2022

Airbus Prototype Wing-Box Assemblies Ready for Testing

Wing of Tomorrow Program: What’s In a Name?

Airbus, the European aerospace consortium, has announced that its Wing of Tomorrow research and technology program has successfully delivered the first of three-prototype wing-box demonstrators by which the airframer seeks to advance its wing technologies.

The recently delivered prototype incorporates over one-hundred discrete technologies applicable to both extant and future Airbus programs.

Undertaken in 2016, the Wing of Tomorrow program explores the design, manufacture, and industrialization of novel wing concepts conducive to upping the speed and reducing the weight of Airbus aircraft.

Sue Partridge, head of the Wing of Tomorrow program states: “Wing of Tomorrow is about preparing our technologies, preparing our people, preparing our supply chain, and also [making] our physical and digital capabilities ready for our future generation of Airbus aircraft. Today’s completion of our first wing assembly marks a key milestone along that journey.”

Partridge asserts the technologies developed by the Wing of Tomorrow program suit three purposes: the betterment of aircraft performance, the betterment of wing-building technologies, and the betterment of the rate at which technologically advanced, composite wings can be manufactured.

The first prototype wing-box was designed at Airbus’ Filton, England facility—of which Partridge is head—and was assembled at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center at the company’s Broughton, Wales plant. Testing of the construct will be carried out at Filton.

The fitting of the prototype wing’s folding wing-tip will take place at Airbus’s Broughton facility. Partridge concedes the folding wing-tip has little effect upon the assembly of the wing-box itself, ergo the installation of subject wing-tip has been put off to hasten testing of the wing-box.

The three-prototype wing-boxes, though based on a common architecture and design, differ slightly insomuch as each was collaborated upon by a different set of subcontractors. Furthermore, the three prototypes will be put to different developmental purposes: the first will be used to test installation technologies; the second is to be structurally tested at full-scale; and the third—known as the run at rate box—will be used to evaluate Airbus’s full industrial system and its constituent human, and automated facets.

The composite components deriving of the Wing of Tomorrow program are designed to make the best use of technologies and reduce the amount of work required to build an aircraft wing by more than fifty-percent—thereby supporting Airbus’s ambition to create efficient, high-performance, low-cost wings at scale.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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