has identified UK aerostructures company GKN Aerospace Services as
participating in its 7E7 twin-jet development programme, following the US
firm’s decision to shelve the Sonic Cruiser project to which GKN was also
is to assist with developing robust structures for the aircraft – such as
composites and aluminium alloys – which will provide strength while reducing
has indicated that it is preparing to make a decision on the types of materials
to be used on the 7E7 later this year.
had been one of the partners brought together by Boeing for the Sonic Cruiser
project, which was to have heavily relied on the manufacturer of advanced
materials and aerostructures.
two companies have ties through GKN’s acquisition two years ago of the Boeing
structures operation in St Louis and its subsequent purchase of the Boeing
Thermal Joining Centre in the northwest USA.
7E7 programme senior vice-president Mike Bair says: “GKN is providing skill and
expertise as we evaluate the materials possibilities for the [aircraft].”
7E7 will be a 200-250 seat long-range aircraft designed as a successor to
aircraft such as the Boeing 767 and 757.
adds: “We are making great progress and I believe that we will be ready to make
a final materials technology selection near the middle of this year.”
companies involved in the technology development include Italy’s Alenia,
Austrian firm Fischer Advanced Composite Components, Fokker Services of the
Netherlands and AHF-Ducommun of the USA.