Machining of the first Beluga ‘XL’ fuselage frame ‘40’ for the initial “non-flyable aircraft” (NFA) has been achieved at Airbus’ plant in Nantes.

The manufacture of this part paves the way for the first centre wing-box (CWB) assembly in early 2016. Other ‘first cuts’ will take place in the very near future, including that of non-Airbus Group partners such as Aernnova, headquartered in Spain, which is tasked with producing sections of the rear fuselage. In parallel, the manufacturing drawing sets for all specific parts are now being delivered from several Airbus sites, including Nantes, Saint Nazaire, Hamburg, “Clément Ader” in Toulouse, and also from various risk-sharing partners.

 

Airbus Beluga XL airframe component 

 

These drawings are needed to adapt the design from the existing A330-200F to the newly developed ‘work packages’. This ongoing activity will lead to a start of final assembly in early 2017. The Beluga XL, launched in November 2014, addresses the transport capacity requirement of the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases. The fleet of five Beluga XL aircraft will provide Airbus with an additional 30 percent extra transport capacity. The first of five Beluga XLs will enter into service in 2019.

 

Airbus Beluga XL airframe component