Snecma group company Messier-Dowty comes to the show basking in the glow from the official opening of its new Chinese production facility at Suzhou, near Shanghai.

Opened last Saturday, the 6,500m2 plant will make landing-gear components for a number of programmes, including the Airbus A320, Dassault Falcon 900/2000EX, Bombardier Challenger 300 and Raytheon Hawker 800XP.

"China is one of the unquestioned future centres of aerospace," comments Messier-Dowty spokeswoman Alison Joly. "The facility gives us a regional presence that we will use as a platform for participation in future programmes."

Suzhou is the first Chinese operation to be 100% owned by a Snecma company.

The international gear-maker is also still celebrating its selection by EADS to supply the undercarriage for Europe's A400M military transport. Design work on the integrated landing-gear systems is now under way, with first delivery scheduled for 2006.

But the company's biggest news in every sense must be last month's handover of the first test specimen of the A380 nose gear to Airbus UK. Standing a roof-scraping 4.8m (16ft) tall when fully extended, the gear can be seen in mock-up form at the Snecma stand (A611).

The specimen is being fitted to the Airbus rig at Filton, UK, for systems validation testing. Main testing will take place at Gloucester and the CEAT centre in Toulouse.

Messier-Dowty claims a number of innovations in the design of the A380 gear, including the use of 350-bar hydraulic pressure for the first time in a commercial aircraft, and the substitution of the high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) surface-treatment process for chromium plating - more environmentally friendly than the hard chrome-plating process.


Source: Flight Daily News