GKN Aerospace has been selected to provide Bell Helicopter with key metal and composite structures across the new 525 Relentless helicopter fuselage.
This major work package includes composite and aluminium fuselage panels and structural parts installed in the cockpit, cabin and tailboom. Manufacture will begin in late 2012 with initial deliveries scheduled for 2013 and continuing through to the end of 2015.
Two GKN Aerospace North American facilities, in St. Louis, Missouri and Tallassee, Alabama, will undertake the manufacture of these components and assemblies. The St Louis site will supply complex machined aluminium bulkheads, frames and spars and the Tallassee site will produce composite structure including skins, bulkheads and frame assemblies.
Marcus Bryson, Chief Executive GKN Aerospace, commented: “GKN Aerospace engineers have worked closely with the Bell Helicopter team through the structural design phase of this programme. Together we have met the demanding weight and performance requirements for structures and assemblies that will equip this airframe from tip to tail - and whose manufacture will exploit our expertise across composite manufacture and metal machining. We are extremely proud to play our part in the creation of this first in a new class of ‘Super Medium’ helicopters.”
GKN Aerospace is the major independent supplier of aero-structures and a world technology leader in the use of composites and metallics in aviation. The company is pioneering new production techniques that are improving the quality and consistency of manufacture at greatly increased production rates.
The 525 Relentless brings cutting edge capability to the new super-medium class by combining best-in-class performance characteristics and passenger amenities, with fly-by-wire flight controls, a touch screen avionics suite and Bell Helicopter’s new tail boom technology.
GKN plc is a global engineering business serving the automotive, aerospace and land systems markets. It has operations in more than 30 countries, around 42,000 employees in subsidiaries and joint ventures and sales of GBP6.1 billion in the year to 31 December 2011. GKN plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: GKN).
GKN Aerospace is the aerospace operation of GKN plc, serving a global customer base and operating in North and South America, the Asia Pacific and Europe. With sales of GBP1.5bn, the business is focused around three major product areas - aerostructures, engine products and transparencies, plus a number of specialist products - electro-thermal ice protection, fuel and flotation systems, and bullet resistant glass. The business is equally split along military and civil lines with significant participation on all major aircraft programmes today. GKN Aerospace is a major supplier of integrated composite structures; offers one of the most comprehensive capabilities in high performance metallics processing and is the world leading supplier of cockpit transparencies and passenger cabin windows.
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