Airbus at Filton: a new center dedicated to wings

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Airbus inaugurated a new Wing Technology Development Center (WTDC) on its website Filton in England. The facility will be used to build and test demonstrators for a range of programs and research projects.

“Investing further in its innovation capabilities in the United Kingdom”, the European aircraft manufacturer announced on July 4, 2023 the opening of its new WTDC, which is to help it “accelerate the design, construction and testing of wings for next-generation aircraft, using the latest technologies and state-of-the-art demonstrators to further improve the performance of its wings”. Alongside engine optimization, Airbus recalls in a press release that “making the wings longer, thinner and lighter is one of the greatest opportunities to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and, ultimately contribute to the ambition of the aviation industry to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050”.

Sue Partridge, Filton site and Airbus Wing of Tomorrow program manager, explains: the new Wing technology development center will help us anchor our research in practice. A key part of how we deliver technology for next-generation aircraft wings is through Wing of Tomorrow (WoT), our largest team-led research and technology program in the UK. Last week we reached a critical milestone in the program when our second demonstrator wing was completed by the team in Broughton, Wales and delivered to the WTDC. Here it will be prepared for structural testing in our Aerospace Integrated Research and Technology Center (AIRTeC) “.

The WTDC “adds to Airbus’ existing footprint” in research and technology in the UK, including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (CDMA) in Broughton and the ZEROe Development Center and the Aerospace Integrated Research & Test Center (AIRTec) on its Filton site. Since 2014, Airbus has received £117 million from the Institute of Aerospace Technology for research related to Wing of Tomorrow.

Airbus employs more than 2,700 people at Filton near Bristol “in a variety of roles focusing on the development and testing of wings, fuel systems and landing gear. Half of the world’s air passengers travel on Airbus wings designed in Filton and manufactured in Broughtonin Wales “.

Wing of tomorrow demonstrators

The three full-size 17-meter wing demonstrators include “a Static Wing Demonstrator – used to test the structural capabilities of new designs and materials and to validate our analysis; a fully equipped Demonstrator – used to test installation technologies and new approaches to equipping the next generation of wings with systems; and a Run@rate Demonstrator – will test industrial capabilities and automation technologies to assess how we can build wings at the scale and speed we need”.

The technology of folding wing tip of Airbus (similar to that already fitted to the Boeing 777X) “aims to increase the wing span to increase lift, reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency without the need to modify the airport infrastructure existing”.

Airbus at Filton: a new center dedicated to wings 2 Airlines and Destinations
Airbus at Filton: a new center dedicated to wings 3 Airlines and Destinations

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