Alenia Aeronautica is aiming to secure structural work on the Airbus A350 XWB programme, as another piece of the major workshare allocation slotted into place this week with Spirit AeroSystems Europe being selected to produce the wing leading edge.

The Spirit deal means that the two wing and six fuselage major aerostructure risk-sharing packages that Airbus is "outsourcing" have now been placed - although several of the latter are contracted to plants that are Airbus-owned but will eventually be sold off.

The major outstanding A350 aerostructure allocations include the horizontal and vertical tailplanes, belly fairing, rear fuselage, tailcone, pylon components and wing moveables. Francois Caudron, vice-president A350 customer and business development, says Airbus aims "to get the majority of them to be allocated by the detail design freeze at the end of the year".

 © Airbus

Alenia, which uses one-piece barrel technology to manufacture Boeing 787 composite fuselage sections at its Grottaglie plant, hopes its composites know-how will make it a leading candidate for some of the outstanding A350 work.

"We want to and will be able to participate, not only for fuselage but also for the empennage - the horizontal and vertical fin - because we also have the new technology of Foggia plant," says Alenia Composite chief operating officer Maurizio Rosini.

Under a contract agreed earlier this week, Spirit's former BAe factory in Prestwick, Scotland will design and assemble the A350's 32m (105ft)-long wing leading edge, a 50% carbonfibre structure. Prestwick already produces wing structures for the A320 and the A380. The A350's composite front spar for the leading edge will be built at Spirit's Kinston, North Carolina factory, and composite subassemblies will be made at the company's new plant near Kuala Lumpur.

Spirit had previously been selected to supply the section 15 composite centre fuselage frame section, which will be produced in its North Carolina factory.

Source: Flight International