Boeing can move into the detailed design stage for the 777-9X having now reached the firm configuration milestone, the airframer has disclosed.
The 777-9X adds to the current 777-300ER a longer, composite wing as well as General Electric GE9X turbofan engines, folding wing-tips, and a stretched and updated fuselage.
A new promotional video released by Boeing today discloses that the 777-9X's wing area will be nearly 20% larger and significantly more flexible than the current version's, greatly improving aerodynamic efficiency.
"The team has followed a disciplined process to complete all of the requirements for this stage of the programme," says Bob Feldmann, Boeing's general manager for the 777X programme, which also includes the longer-range 777-8X variant.
An internal restructuring at Boeing's commercial division in 2012 created a consolidated Airplane Development organisation, a move intended to ward off the delays that plagued the 787-8 and 747-8 programmes.
With the possible exception of the KC-46 programme, which includes development staff from the commercial and military divisions, the new structure has kept Boeing's commercial projects on time.
The 777-9X appears to be continuing the trend, with firm configuration completed on the originally scheduled date set two years ago.
Until now, Boeing has focused development on validating the aircraft's basic performance against a set of requirements.
In the detailed design phase, Boeing's development team will focus on the aircraft at the part and assembly level, as well as all of the electronic, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems.
Boeing then launches the production phase as the detailed design phase nears completion.
The first 777-9X test aircraft is scheduled to fly in 2018, followed by entry into service in 2020.