It was only a matter of time of course, but a business unit of Airbus’ majority shareholder EADS has finally got itself a deal to build a significant chunk of Boeing’s 787.
So complex is the web of aerospace suppliers today that it wasn’t really possible to predict how and when this would happen. As it turns out it is EADS military business at Augsburg in Germany that has got the work, and it’s a pretty crucial component – the unit will be making the composite aft pressure bulkhead using resin transfer moulding techniques.
It wasn’t Boeing itself that placed the work – it has devolved so much of the supply chain on the 787 that that sort of decision barely troubles its managers anymore. The work package was awarded by aerostructures specialist Vought, a huge player in Boeing’s industrial machine.
The reverse arrangement is unlikely since Boeing is not in the third party game, but further examples of EADS units finding their way onto Boeing products are inevitable.
Oddly enough, in the recent past Alenia of Italy decided to keep itself out of the Airbus consortium for fear of losing Boeing contracts. And it is now winning so much work on the 787 and other models that you suspect it may have done the right thing.
The value and number of jobs involved in the new EADS contract is minor of course, but year by year the revenue streams out of Airbus and Boeing are becoming so diverse and are reaching such unlikely places that it is becoming harder and harder for them to position themselves as national aerospace champions. That’s hardly novel in most manufacturing industries, but structural change in aerospace is not always so rapid.
Technorati tag: Boeing 787 EADS