MIAMI – Premium AEROTEC has recently started manufacturing the first rear center tank (RCT) for the Airbus A321 XLR.
The “First Metal Cut” – the production of the first cutting part for the tank – took place on June 25, 2020, at the Premium AEROTEC location in Augsburg.
“We are very pleased that Airbus entrusted us with the production of this technically sophisticated structure and that we were able to successfully carry out the first metal cut for the rear center tank today. Given the large number of orders, I am convinced that this innovative long-haul aircraft will be a great success, ”said Premium AEROTEC CEO Dr. Thomas Ehm.
Premium AEROTEC benefits from the construction of this complex component from its extensive and many years of experience in the manufacture of the Eurofighter fuselage center section, which contains a comparable integral tank and is also produced in Augsburg, according to Ehm.
Extra Long Range
XLR stands for Extra Long Range. The long range of up to almost 9,000 kilometers is achieved by the aircraft carrying significantly more fuel than the previous version.
This is made possible by a permanently installed tank in the rear fuselage part of the aircraft below the floor, which makes maximum use of the existing structure and the entire fuselage cross section of the cargo hold.
The integral tank is integrated into sections 15 and 17 in the rear fuselage. For the first time, the maximum take-off weight of an aircraft from the A320 family increases to over 100 tons. To do this statically, the structure and landing gear of the aircraft are reinforced. The A321 XLR also has stronger brakes and new, one-piece flaps on the inside of the wings.
In addition to longer ranges, this innovative aircraft will also use around 30 percent less fuel compared to previous generations of aircraft. Over 450 orders were placed in the first six months after the official launch of this long-haul version.
AEROTEC and AIRBUS
Premium AEROTEC was commissioned by AIRBUS in September 2019 to manufacture the rear center tank. Premium AEROTEC was already able to secure a demanding work package on the new flagship of the A320 family at the end of 2018: Premium AEROTEC is also responsible for the changes in section 17, in which the rear center tank will later be inserted as a segment.
Premium AEROTEC is therefore responsible for all reinforcements in the structural areas of sections 15, 17 and 19 as well as the floor cross members.
2,800 AEROTECH Jobs at Risk
Not everyone, however, will be celebrating the first metal cut of the A321XLR. Today, around 1,000 jobs at AEROTECH are at risk in Augsburg and another 1,800 jobs in northern Germany. On Monday, the company specified a possible cut of a total of up to 2,800 jobs already announced last week.
This is the order of magnitude that the supplier has to adjust capacities.
According to the plans, Nordenham in Lower Saxony could be affected even more than the Augsburg headquarters, where 1,100 jobs are at risk. In Varel, also in Lower Saxony, 540 jobs are on the brink.
The company has locations in Augsburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Nordenham, and Varel in Germany and in Braşov in Romania. Premium AEROTEC employs a total of around 9,000 people.
Premium AEROTEC is one of the world’s leading Tier 1 suppliers for aircraft structures and generated sales of 2 billion euros in 2019. Its core business is the development and manufacture of aircraft structures made of metal and carbon fiber composites.