Exelis has been awarded a multimillion dollar contract from Airbus to produce center wing box struts for the A350-1000 aircraft. This contract marks the second award for the new Exelis STaR (Struts, Tubes and Rods) product line following the A380 award announcement last year. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016 and will continue through 2020.
Under the contract, Exelis will fabricate composite struts for the center wing box section of the A350-1000. Critical to the aircraft’s structure, the struts help distribute loads from the wings and fuselage into the center wing box providing structural support for the airframe. Exelis STaR products, through the use of patented manufacturing technology licensed from Bodair S.A. and a unique strut design, provide a high strength-to-weight ratio alternative to metallic struts and deliver greater weight savings compared with competing composite production methods.
“With significant weight savings and reduced maintainance costs, composite structures and components continue to replace traditional metallic structures on next-generation aircraft, and the Airbus A350 XWB is a prime example,” said Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures. “We are positioned to meet the growing market demands and provide our customer with significant value through our Exelis StaR product line – delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions at a high rate of production.”
The Airbus A350-1000 is the longest fuselage version of the Airbus wide-body jetliners and is designed for high efficiency, maximum reliability and optimized performance. As with the other A350 XWB family members, the A350-1000 combines the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to realize a 25 percent step change in fuel efficiency compared to its current aluminum long-range competitor. Composite materials account for more than 50 percent of the A350 XWB airframe.
Leveraging more than 40 years of composite expertise, Exelis has identified Aerostructures as one of its four strategic growth platforms. Exelis continues to expand its relationship with Airbus through defense and commercial solutions, including commercial aerostructures, geographical information systems and advanced missile warning capabilities.