The first centre wing box, the 'structural heart' of the A400M military transport aircraft, has been delivered from the Airbus Nantes site in France to Seville in Spain, where it arrived yesterday, Wednesday 28th March. Deliveries of major structural sections for the first A400M military transport aircraft to the final assembly line in Seville, Spain, started at the end of 2006.
An advanced composite structure, the centre wing box connects to the outer wing sections as well as being the component that connects the wings to the fuselage. In addition, the centre wing box is one of the fuel tanks of the A400M aircraft.
This particular part of the aircraft structure is capable of absorbing forces of over 200 tonnes which can be encountered during different phases of flight. In addition, significant weight savings have been achieved through 50 per cent of the centre wing box being produced from carbon fibre composite components.
Four centre wing box structures are currently in production in the dedicated facility at the Airbus plant in Nantes, France.
Charles Paterson, Head of the A400M Wing Team said: "This is a huge milestone for the programme. The Centre Wing box team has done a first class job producing this component complete and on time".
Firm orders for A400M now stand at 192 aircraft (180 aircraft in the original order for seven European NATO nations through OCCAR i.e. 60 for Germany; 50 for France; 27 for Spain; 25 for the UK; ten for Turkey; seven for Belgium and one for Luxembourg; plus 12 aircraft ordered by two further customers, i.e. eight aircraft for South Africa and four for Malaysia).
Airbus is an EADS company.