Exelis (Salt Lake City, Utah) has been selected by The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill.) to produce composite airframe substructures for the 787 Dreamliner. Work will begin immediately at the Exelis composite design and manufacturing center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“This award is a result of our performance and partnership with Boeing – a relationship that spans more than 40 years,” says Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures business. “Our expertise in high-rate, high-volume composite production and the available capacity to facilitize quickly provide a distinct advantage to our customer.”
Exelis is a long-standing supplier to Boeing providing composite storage tanks for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 models. The company recently received Boeing gold supplier status for its 100 percent quality and on-time delivery achievement.
“Our commitment to operational excellence will extend to the 787 program providing our customer with the highest level of dependability and quality performance,” says Blair.
Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure of the 787 Dreamliner, which provides a significant weight savings from traditional metallic structures. The results are unmatched fuel efficiency, 20 percent less than today’s similarly sized airplanes, and exceptional environmental performance. The 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250-290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km). The new 787-10, launched in June 2013, will extend and complement the family, carrying 300-330 passengers up to 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km), or more than 90 percent of the world’s twin-aisle routes.
Boeing estimates the total market for the 787 family of models to be more than 3500 aircraft during the next 20 years and expects to deliver more than half of the total or 1750 aircraft in that market. To date, orders of the 787 Dreamliner have totaled 1,012 aircraft.
Editor PickNASA carbon fiber glider to gather weather data during flight
The teams are still working on the design but the aircraft is expected to have a wingspan of about 3 feet and will be made of double ply, carbon fiber.