Airbus’ research and technology (R&T) program Wing of Tomorrow has just achieved a major milestone with the assembly of its first ever full-size wing prototype.
The program, which is testing the next-gen composite materials and new technologies in aerodynamics and wing architecture, believes its latest endeavor could help appraise how wing manufacturing and industrialization can be improved to meet future demand as the sector emerges from the pandemic.
“Wing of Tomorrow, a crucial part of Airbus’ R&T portfolio, will help us assess the industrial feasibility of future wing production,” says Airbus’ Chief Technical Officer Sabine Klauke.
“High-performing wing technology is one of several solutions – alongside sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen – we can implement to contribute to aviation’s decarbonization ambition.”
“Wing of Tomorrow is also an example of how large-scale industry collaboration will be critical to achieving our sector’s agenda for a more sustainable future.”
According to Airbus, a total of three full-size prototype wings will be manufactured during the course of the program.
The first one will be used to understand systems integration while the second wing will be structurally tested to compare against computer modelling.
The third prototype wing will be assembled to test scaling-up production and compare against industrial modelling.
All three wing demonstrators should help the ‘Wing Moveables’ team bring together more than 100 new technologies to explore new manufacturing and assembly techniques as they strive to make aviation more sustainable.
According to Airbus, the sub-assembly of the complex wing cover took place at Airbus’ Filton site, England, having been manufactured at the National Composite Centre (NCC) in Bristol.
The wing cover and a major component from GKN Aerospace – the Fixed Trailing Edge – were delivered to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, Wales, facility on Airbus’ wing-production plant in Broughton, Flintshire, for assembly to begin.
Image and content: Airbus