Production of 787 components by Boeing's Japanese suppliers is gathering pace, with the first assemblies due to be shipped to the USA next month.
Japan's three major aerospace companies are responsible for 35% of production of the largely composite structure for the 787. Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) undertakes design and assembly of the centre wingbox and its integration with the main landing gear (MLG) wheel well. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) provides part of the forward fuselage, the MLG wheel well and the main wing fixed trailing edge. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is responsible for designing and building the wingbox.
According to the president of FHI's Aerospace division, Norihisa Matsuo, the joining of components (including some supplied by KHI) to create the first centre wingbox and the MLG wheel well begins this month at its West Handa plant. "Roll-out is due on 28 December, and it will be shipped immediately by boat to Nagoya airport," says Matsuo.
The subassembly will then be flown by Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) on 2 January to the Global Aeronautica facility in Charleston, South Carolina from Nagoya. Here further assembly of major components will be undertaken before the sections are flown by 747LCF to the Everett, Washington final assembly line. Matsuo says that FHI is scheduled to ship four centre wingboxes by the end of March, with monthly production rising to three by the fourth quarter.
KHI meanwhile is on track to deliver the first 787 forward fuselage in January. The company opened a factory in Nagoya dedicated to work on the 787 in July, just beside its existing Boeing 777 facility.