30 December 2013

General Electric is not supplying the engines for the A350 XWB, but they are onboard.

When the Airbus A350 is progressing on the flight test campaign, much attention is focused on the Rolls-RoyceTrent XWB powerplants. But while the Trent XWB is the only engine available for the new big twin, R-R's arch rival GE is still onboard.

GE's aviation division is a significant aerostructures supplier and its UK facility at Hamble-le-Rice, Southampton, supplies Airbus with fixed trailing edge components for the A350 wing.

That package - for 3,000 components, including structural composite panels and complex machined assemblies - is the largest production contract awarded to Hamble in its 75-year history. The deal, under which GE is a risk-sharing partner, extends to all A350 variants, including the -800, -900 and -1000.

GE bought the Hamble facility in 2007 as part of a package of businesses it acquired from Smiths, transforming what was at that time a build-to-print supplier into a full-function design and manufacturing partner today.

Hamble is due to see a $50 million composites facility investment dedicated to A350 and running in time to meet aircraft production ramp-up requirements. Work has already started, and the facility should be ready near the end of 2014.

Based on the article “GE takes flight on A350 wing” published in Flight International.

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