First composite lay-up manufactured for Airbus A350 XWB

The centre wing-box (CWB) panel is made entirely made of carbon composite and has a surface area of 36 m2, making it the largest composite panel ever manufactured in Nantes, using a new state-of-the-art laying machine.

Once assembled in Nantes, the CWB will be delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire for integration.

Around 53% by weight of the new A350 XWB aircraft will be composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.

"This key milestone for the A350 XWB programme has been made possible through Airbus' methodical and evolutionary approach to incorporating composites in its aircraft, and the consequent experience gained over many years," says Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB programme added: "The A350 XWB is becoming real, and further builds on our expertise in key areas such as: materials technology; predictive stress analysis and design; composite manufacturing; and composite engineering and assembly, including manufacturing processes and tool technology concepts."

The A350 XWB family is Airbus' response to market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8300 nm/15 400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions.

Firm orders for the A350 XWB now stand at 505 from 32 customers worldwide