Building on last Friday's post about unlocking customers to evaluate competing airframer's products, I wanted to look a bit closer at the changes Airbus and Boeing made to develop their respective second generation 777s and A340s. For Boeing, the aircraft maker would evolve the 777-200ER and -300 into the the 777-300ER, -200LR and freighter, while Airbus would take its A340-300 and -200 to become the A340-600 and -500.
I went digging into the Flight International archive to find the technical evolution of each model and the structural changes that were required from their respective baseline designs. The changes to create the longer range A340s were significantly more extensive with its stretched wingbox, fuselage and revised empennage.
With its raised main landing gear, raked wingtip extensions and structural strengthening, the 777, by comparison did not need a fuselage stretch as the original 777-200 and -300 established the airframes for the -200LR and -300ER.
October 1996 - A340-500/600 soft launch
Additional details of the 777 and A340's evolution are below the fold.