Chief executive Jean-Pierre Cojan says Aircelle's nacelles for the A380 are the "most advanced" nacelles in existence, citing their high composite content, their acoustic treatment (covering the air inlets and titanium exhausts), and their electrical thrust reverser actuators. He says by the time the products' nearest competitor - the A350 XWB's nacelle, which is being developed by Goodrich - enters service in 2013, Aircelle will be "well into the second generation of electrical actuation".
Future nacelles will introduce electricity to air inlet de-icing, raise further the level of composite content (potentially to above 70% of weight), and seek to minimise aerodynamic losses via secondary airflow.
Four nacelles were developed for the A380: one inboard nacelle (with a thrust reverser) and one outboard nacelle (without), for each of the type's two engines, the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 and Engine Alliance GP7200. Aircelle's A380 nacelles have accumulated more than 180,000h of operation since the aircraft entered service in October 2007, without encountering any major problems, says Cojan.
Aircelle was 50% owned by Airbus until 2002, a legacy reflected in its involvement in multiple Airbus programmes. Alongside its A380 nacelles, it has provided nacelles for the A340-500/-600 models' Trent 500 engines, while its thrust reversers are deployed on the CFM56 engines powering the A340-200/-300 and A320, the A330-200/-300 models' Trent 700 engines and the A318's Pratt & Whitney PW6000 engines.
Cojan says Aircelle was "too busy" with the A380 programme to devote resources to the A350 XWB. However, the company intends to "compete aggressively for a sizeable share of the future narrowbody markets". Last year, it formed a 50:50 joint venture with GE subsidiary Middle River Aircraft Systems to serve the forthcoming programmes of not just Airbus but Boeing. "One of our key strategic objectives is to obtain Boeing applications," says Cojan.
Long established in the business jet market, Aircelle has provided nacelles for Embraer aircraft and thrust reversers for Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream types, and is in the process of certificating its nacelle for the Sukhoi Superjet 100's Snecma/NPO Saturn SaM146 engine. Within its newest programme, Aircelle is developing nacelles for the Bombardier Learjet 85, with final assembly allocated to a Moroccan plant opened in 2006.