Exelis (McLean, Va., USA) has been selected by Airbus (Toulouse, France) to supply composite floor beam struts for the A380 aircraft. The multimillion dollar contract runs through 2023 and marks the first award on the recently announced Exelis STaR (Struts, Tubes and Rods) product line.
Exelis will use patented manufacturing technology, licensed from Bodair S.A. (Oupeye, Belgium), to produce the composite floor beam struts, which are the structural support connecting the passenger cabin floor to the aircraft fuselage. The unique composite strut design provides high strength-to-weight ratio vs. traditional metals and exceeds other composite production methods in weight savings. Exelis will produce the STaR products at its composite design and manufacturing center in Salt Lake City with deliveries to begin in 2015.
“Expanding our composite solutions to include high-performance, light-weight structural hardware is an important aspect in the growth strategy of our business and allows us to extend our international reach,” said Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures. “Airbus is an important customer, and we look forward to providing solutions that will meet their needs today and into the future.”
The A380 is considered the flagship of the Airbus family of aircraft and is the world’s largest passenger airliner. With the double-deck, wide-body design, the A380 offers multiple cabin design configurations with seating of 525 passengers and a range of up to 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers). Composite materials comprise more than 20 percent of the A380's airframe.
Exelis has identified aerostructures as one of four strategic growth platforms for the company.
Editor PickMore companies join NASA’s Advanced Composites Consortium
The project’s goal is to reduce product development and certification timelines by 30 percent for composite aircraft.