Photos – Airbus A350 XWB First Components Delivered to Saint-Nazaire Site

This week first major components of the all new Airbus A350 XWB have been delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire manufacturing site.

Today Airbus Nantes has delivered the keel beam. The exceptional convoy, over 25 metres long, left the Nantes site for the Loire, to be loaded onto the barge that transported it to the Airbus Saint-Nazaire site.
The keel beam provides structural continuity to the fuselage at the landing gear compartment. The A350 XWB programme is the first programme in which the keel beam and the aft lower shell have been combined to form a single major component. This immense part, made out of 70% composites, is 16.5m long and 4.3m wide and weighs 1.2 tonnes. Its assembly in the Nantes factory required the use of 10,000 fasteners to join 2000 parts.

Photo – First Airbus A350 XWB Keel Beam
Airbus A350 XWB Keel Beam

Already on August 8th the first Airbus A350 XWB centre wing box was delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire site, where it will be assembled into the first A350 XWB fuselage. The centre wing box is made from 40% carbon fibre reinforced plastics, measures 6.5 metres by 5.5 metres and is 3.9 metres tall. The biggest panels produced for the centre wing-box, entirely made of carbon fibre, have a surface area of 36 square meters, making them the largest “monobloc” composite panels ever manufactured in Nantes. Once the centre wing box is installed in to the A350 XWB fuselage, the sub-assembly will then be flown by Beluga from St Nazaire to Airbus’ brand new A350 XWB final assembly line in Toulouse.

Photo – First Airbus A350 XWB Center Wing Box
Airbus A350 XWB Center Wing Box

In total, the A350 XWB structure is going to be 53 per cent composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.

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