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Serious questions surround Airbus's plan to revise its twin-widebody strategy. Concerns range from the program's timing, to whether it is targeting the right market segment, to the aircraft maker's ability to actually assemble the airplane.
Airbus is not expected to formally unveil its new design for a few more weeks. The emerging aircraft family would replace plans for the A350, with hope of this time generating broad market interest. Getting it right is critical for Airbus, after botching the A350, which drew extensive criticism from key customers.
The centerpiece of the revised widebody, and also at the heart of current concerns, is the combination of a larger fuselage, higher-thrust engines, delayed in-service date, and increased development cost. In fact, one senior airline executive says one reason the board has not yet endorsed the revision is that development costs will double.
[edit on 6/11/06 by FredT]
If Airbus tries to compete with 777 (200 ER & LR) and the 787 (3-8-9) with a single plane and This plane would be 4 years late from the first 787...
To replace the A330 and A340, they would have to create an incredible versatile plane that have to have some major technological advance
ey need at least two kinds of engines. Sure they can use RR for the medium size (like the current A350), but for the bigger planes they probably would need a different more powerful engine that GE won't supply since they are parthers with Boeing on the 777.
Aluminum- Lithium Alloy (Al- Li) Description:
1) Lithium reduces density and increases stiffness when alloyed with aluminum. With proper alloy design, aluminum- lithium alloys can have exceptional combinations of strength and toughness.
2) Commercial aluminum-lithium (Al- Li) alloys are targeted as advanced materials for aerospace technology and to reduce the weight of U.S. Department of Defense systems primarily because of their low density, high specific modulus, and excellent fatigue and cryogenic toughness properties.
3) The principal disadvantages of peak-strength aluminum-lithium alloys are reduced ductility and fracture toughness in the short transverse direction, anisotropy of in-plane properties, the need for cold work to attain peak properties, and accelerated fatigue crack extension rates when cracks are micro structurally small.
This has resulted in an unprecedented 60 per cent of the A350 airframe being made from weight-saving composite materials such as carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminium lithium alloys.