Airbus has reached a major milestone in its “Wing of Tomorrow” programme with the completion of the first full-size prototype.
The composite wing cover and was produced at the National Composite Centre in Bristol before being assembled by a team at Airbus’ Filton site.
The wing cover was then shipped along with the fixed trailing edge component from GKN Aerospace for assembly at Airbus’ Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre facility at Airbus’ wing-production plant in Broughton, North Wales, for final assembly.
The Wing of Tomorrow programme will test the very latest in composite materials and new technologies in aerodynamics and wing architecture.
It will also explore how wing manufacturing and industrialisation can be improved to meet future demand as the aviation industry recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer, said: “Wing of Tomorrow, a crucial part of Airbus’ R&T portfolio, will help us assess the industrial feasibility of future wing production. High-performing wing technology is one of several solutions – alongside sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen – we can implement to contribute to aviation’s decarbonisation ambition. Wing of Tomorrow is also an example of how large-scale industry collaboration will be critical to achieving our sector’s agenda for a more sustainable future.”
The prototype is the first of three full-size wings that will be produced. One will be used to understand systems integration while a second will be structurally tested to compare against computer modelling. The third prototype will be assembled to test scaling-up production and compare against industrial modelling.