Airbus is pressing ahead with development of the A321XLR despite the current aviation crisis. The new compact long-haul jet from Airbus is expected to be able to cover distances of up to 4700 nautical miles (8700 kilometers). It is to be available to airlines on time by 2023. Under a Design & Build contract (development and production), RUAG Aerostructures is manufacturing the lower side shells with landing gear bay and the floor structures. In the Build to Print package (manufacturing to specification), RUAG Aerostructures produces the upper side shells of the aircraft fuselage, the rear fuselage and floor structures, the pressure bulk and the tailcone for the new long-haul jet of the A320 family.
Higher weight and larger tank require design adjustments
With the new version of the Airbus A321neo as a long-haul aircraft, individual components have to be modified. This is necessary due to the higher load and additional weight of the A321XLR. In particular, the additional tank for long-haul routes requires a number of adjustments in the design, for whose development RUAG Aerostructures is responsible in cooperation with Airbus. The RUAG Aerostructures team's know-how of the assemblies, acquired over many years, helps in finding a reliable design solution.
All three RUAG Aerostructures sites are involved in the production of the large assemblies for the Airbus A321XLR. Individual small components are manufactured in Emmen, Switzerland. At the site in Eger, Hungary, which recently received EASA Part-21 certification, the floor structures as well as the lower side shells including the landing gear bay are manufactured. In Oberpfaffenhofen, the upper side shells of the aircraft fuselage, the rear fuselage and floor structures, the tailcone and the pressure bulk are produced.
Series production from the beginning of 2022
Following the initial delivery of the large assemblies to Airbus, further assemblies for flight and barrel tests will be delivered by the end of the year. Series production of the sections for the A321XLR is scheduled to start in early 2022. Since the announcement of the new long-haul jet, Airbus has already received hundreds of orders, so good rates are expected for the aircraft.
Ralf Drees, the new Executive Vice President of RUAG Aerostructures, is delighted: "The successful delivery of the first components is an important milestone for us. Despite the pandemic and the resulting limited physical contact between the sites, we managed to solve the complex tasks professionally. RUAG Aerostructures was once again able to prove itself as a reliable partner and supplier. »