ATK wins composites structures, tooling contract for A350

The composites work for Airbus' next-generation A350 XWB is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for ATK.

Alliant Techsystems (ATK, Minneapolis, Minn., USA) announced on Nov. 16 that Airbus SAS and its partners Aerolia SA, Premium Aerotec GmbH and Spirit AeroSystems Inc. have selected the company to produce composite structures and tooling for its next-generation A350 XWB aircraft. Total expected revenues for ATK for this work is estimated at $1 billion. Combined with the previous announcement for A350 XWB composite engine components, this new selection makes the aircraft the largest commercial program in ATK's history.

The company will produce the composite components at its composite manufacturing center of excellence in Iuka, Miss., USA. At peak production, ATK could produce up to 25 miles of A350 XWB composite components per month.

ATK's proprietary automated stiffener forming machines (ASFM) will be instrumental in the development and manufacture of low-cost composite stringers and frames in a variety of shapes that will be required throughout the composite fuselage structure. The company's patented ASFM process allows ATK to produce high-quality composite components with flexibility in design and good repeatability. ATK says its proprietary production processes reduce manufacturing time by 90 percent over traditional hand lay-up methods, while its advanced ultrasonic inspection process ensures quality and rapid delivery.

"The A350 XWB program builds on ATK's decades of composite production experience in military aircraft and launch vehicle programs," said John Shroyer, interim CEO. "This production program showcases the unique capabilities of ATK's composite manufacturing expertise and provides ATK a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enter on the ground floor of a revolution in the way commercial airliners will be produced in the decades to come."