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Airbus A321XLR programme development and industrialisation gathers pace
Monday, 20 April 2020

Following its launch at the Paris Air Show last year, the industrialisation of the A321XLR long range single-aisle programme is underway and the aircraft’s design is moving from concept to reality. By early 2020, the first long-lead components for the initial A321XLR flight-test aircraft were already in production – including the main landing gear forgings by Safran and the first parts for the centre wingbox by Airbus in Nantes.

Most recently, in March, Airbus completed its supplier selection for the new major components and systems which are specifically being designed for the A321XLR variant. These suppliers include: Spirit AeroSystems (inboard single-slotted flap); Diehl Aviation (potable water & water waste systems); FACC (modified belly fairing); Premium Aerotec (rear-centre fuel tank primary structure); Collins Aerospace (fuel system); Parker Aerospace (fuel tank inerting system); Vincorion (heated floor panels); Safran (main and nose landing gear); and Triumph Group (landing gear uplock mechanism).

In anticipation of the industrialisation phase, where relevant, the programme is applying Airbus’ new “digital design, manufacturing and services” (DDMS) product lifecycle approach. This enables accurate virtual factory simulations to validate investments and ramp-up planning. A key pillar of the DDMS framework is the 3D “Digital Mock-up Unit” (DMU) database, which will allow concurrent design, assembly simulations, and real-time 3D visibility across the transnational co-design plateaus at Toulouse, Hamburg and Filton. Furthermore, the A321XLR programme brings the benefits of 3D visualisation to the non- engineering community, including programme managers – who can now work in 3D thanks to 3D viewer tools.

In addition to the aforementioned digital environments, the installation of complementary physical demonstrators is also well underway for ‘validation and verification’ (V&V) of the various new structures and equipment of the A321XLR. For example, the Structures Demonstrator programme includes ‘major component assembly’ (MCA) join-up of fuselage sections 15 & 17, fuselage integration of the new rear-centre-[fuel]-tank, plus other modules and detailed parts. In parallel, the Equipment Demonstrator programme features physical trial installation in a full-size wooden mock-up by a multi-functional team representing each installed system, with experts from Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Production, Maintenance and Ergonomics. This approach minimises design clashes, as well as optimising ergonomics. Testing of the cabin comfort for long-range operations has already started, including the use of a climatic test chamber on ground.

To date, 24 customers have ordered a total of more than 450 A321XLRs, validating the market need for the unique capabilities offered by this aircraft. Flight-testing is due to start in 2022, and service entry from 2023. The A321XLR will provide airlines with a range of up to 4,700nm and a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous-generation competitor aircraft.

Contact details from our directory:
Airbus S.A.S. Airframer
Spirit AeroSystems Europe Ltd Wing Flaps, Wings, Wing Spoilers, Empennages, Aircraft Structural Components, Aircraft Doors, Aircraft Control Surfaces, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Paint Application
Diehl Aviation GmbH Water Systems, Waste Water Systems, Lavatory Equipment, Aircraft Interior Bulkheads
FACC AG Engine Parts, Lavatory Equipment, Fairings, Aircraft Doors, Engine Nozzles, Thrust Reversers, Aircraft Structural Components, Testing Services, Aircraft Interiors, Aircraft Interior Bulkheads, Aircraft Flooring, Passenger Service Units (PSUs), Storage Bins, Window Panels, Wing Spoilers, Radomes, Wings, Winglets, Bleed Air Systems, Wing Flaps, Fire & Smoke Detectors, Engine Fan Casings, Cargo Liners, Elevators, Empennages
Premium AEROTEC GmbH Fuselage Sections, Aircraft Flooring, Aircraft Doors, Flap/Slat Mechanisms, Aircraft Structural Components, Prototyping, Aircraft Interior Bulkheads, Aircraft Landing Gear, Final Assembly, Plant Automation Equipment, Additive Manufacturing
Collins Aerospace, Sensors & Integrated Systems Fuel Quantity Indicators
Parker Aerospace, Air & Fuel Division Pressure Control Valves, Relief Valves, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Check Valves, Solenoid Valves, Pneumatic Systems Equipment, Ice Protection/Prevention Equipment, Fuel Inerting Systems
VINCORION | Jenoptik Advanced Systems GmbH Cabin Heaters, Engine Parts, Aramid-reinforced Composites, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Thermoforming, Ice Protection/Prevention Equipment, Air Heaters, Waste Water Systems, Tail Strike Indicator, Trolley Lift Conveyance System, Fibreglass, Radome Covers
Safran Landing Systems Carbon Brakes, Aircraft Landing Gear, Aircraft Wheels, Oil Pressure Monitoring Equipment, Brake-by-Wire Systems, Electrohydraulic Brakes, Electrical Brakes, Steering Systems, Electronic Control Equipment, Landing Gear Controls, Hydraulic Systems & Equipment, Tyre Pressure Monitors, Hydraulic Filters, Electrohydrostatic Actuators, Hydraulic Brakes, Engine Controls, Anti-Skid Brakes & Systems, Brake System Components, Helicopter Landing Gear
Triumph Integrated Systems - Actuation & Control UK Aircraft Landing Gear, Reservoirs, Hydraulic Actuators, Hydraulic System Valves, Accumulators, Hydraulic Equipment, Manifolds & Ducts, Steering Systems
Related aircraft programs:
Airbus A320