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March 2007 edition

Tungsten alloys help the Typhoon keep its balance

A contract to supply control surface balance weights for tranche two of the Eurofighter Typhoon has handed a British firm the biggest supply deal in its history.

M&I Materials, based in Manchester, will supply 6,600 of its Wolfmet tungsten alloy parts for 254 of the new batch of Typhoon military jets.

Applications for the parts include trim weights for the fighter's Canard foreplane, ballast adjustment in the cockpit and centre of gravity positioning. The finished balance weights will be freighted to BAE's Samlesbury site, 30 miles north of Manchester, where the joint European aircraft's front fuselage, fin and rudder, and components for the centre and rear fuselages are being manufactured.

M&I's Mark Grayson Wood told Airframer that the company had supplied half of the tungsten alloy balance weights for the first tranche of Typhoons, with a competitor supplying the remainder, but "come tranche two, we bid for the whole thing and we won the whole thing". The latest contract is worth U.K. £2 million over six years.

Grayson Wood says that the M&I factory, which turns over around £10 million a year and employs 100 people, supplied Wolfmet parts to the military and business jet market. "Not so much in jetliners because they have a lot of space. You use tungsten where you don't have a lot of space; in high performance but restricted space requirements."

Tungsten is 70 per cent heavier than lead. Wolfmet's high density, good mechanical properties and machining char....

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Bombardier Aerospace Airframer
Alenia Aermacchi SpA Airframer
EADS CASA Airframer
Eurofighter GmbH Airframer
SyberJet Aircraft Airframer
EADS Cassidian Air Systems Airframer
M&I Materials Ltd Counterweights, Precision Machined Parts, Tungsten, Radiation Shielding
BAE Systems plc Airframer
Beechcraft Corporation Airframer

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