Boeing has named the initial batch of suppliers for the recently launched 747-8. Included is Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems, which wins its first major contract since officially splitting from Boeing in mid-2005.

Along with already selected Gen­­eral Electric for the GEnx-2B67 engines, the “external team” includes Maryland-based Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS) for the thrust-reverser system and Spirit AeroSystems for the nacelle and strut. The “internal supplier team” includes Boeing Winnipeg for the aft pylon fairing; Boeing Portland for the engine mounts; and Boeing Propulsion Systems division for the engine and strut build-ups.

Spirit AeroSystems says its work package includes “design and build responsibilities for the upper fairing, fan cowl support beam and strut box for the pylons”. Spirit will also provide the inlet assembly.

MRAS will develop, certify and produce the all-composite thrust-reverser system and, for the 747-8, will become a new direct supplier to Boeing, which says it expects MRAS to deliver first production hardware in 2008. The GEnx-2B67 is due to go to test in 2007 and to be certificated in 2008.

Further supplier decisions are expected, although most are expected to go to existing 747-400 suppliers as the process wraps up by the end of the first quarter.

“Our philosophy is that, with domain knowledge, the present supply base should stand the best chance of producing this aircraft with today’s targets,” says 747-8 vice-president and programme manager Jeff Peace. But he says some contracts could go to tender.


Source: Flight International