Wing Innovative Components (Ice)

Lead Participant: Airbus Operations Limited


The ATI funded ‘Wing Design, Manufacture & Assembly’ project which ended in March 2017, delivered technology solutions for a high-rate / high production volume CFRP wing for a single-aisle aircraft, covering the domains of; concept, design, CFRP component manufacture, wing assembly and industrial system concept. In order to achieve the exploitation date required by Airbus product strategy, these technologies will be integrated into an overall wing configuration at TRL 6 before the end of 2021.

This proposal relates to a project which is in 3 mains parts. Firstly it will develop and deliver new dry fibre technologies for use in the Wing of Tomorrow primary structure components. Secondly it develops and delivers several key full scale components to the Wing of Tomorrow Demonstrators including Leading and Trailing Edges, Ribs and Spars, and thirdly it delivers the means by which to test one of the 3 full scale Wing demonstrators.. The scope is a combination of component manufacturing, materials development and full Wing testing, the latter being a key deliverable into the TRL6 targets for the Wing of Tomorrow.

‘Wing of the Tomorrow’ is based around an innovative CFRP wing concept optimised for high aerodynamic and structural performance. Low recurring-cost will be secured via integrated CFRP components and lean industrial system (out-of-autoclave, modular assembly / equipping). The wing-box will be an integrated component (resulting in significant reduction in drilling and fastening operations) made from formed dry-fibre material infused and cured out-of-autoclave. Full-scale trials are essential to ensure that the concepts are fully de-risked and robust enough to launch into rapid industrial ramp-up and high-rate production.

For GKN, this project aims to develop next generation design and engineering of composite spars, and metallic and composite rib concepts. Development is focused on achieving a Design for Manufacture of full scale concepts by 2019, which enables and validates the supporting manufacturing processes.

Spirit AeroSystems aim is to develop and manufacture a number of key modules for the “plug and fly” fixed leading edge (FLE) using a range of advanced metallic and composite technologies. These technology rich modules will be incorporated into a representative full-scale FLE (produced by Spirit within another WoT project: (Wing LIFT) in support of the overarching Airbus TRL6 wing demonstrator. In addition, a disruptive FLE alternative will be developed to challenge both design and technology applications for modular assembly.

GE Aviation Aerostructures is proposing to pull together a number of technology developments that, when combined, address an innovative approach to the design and high rate manufacture of wing trailing edge assembled modules. Current aircraft production relies on assembly by the OEM of individual components to the wing trailing edge after assembly of the main wing box. GE is proposing design and manufacture development in collaboration with Airbus of an innovative modular “plug & play” approach to wing build, akin to that common in the automotive world, with the objective of demonstrating the feasibility of achieving this at high aircraft build rates. In addition, GE is proposing the use of automated fibre placement and additive manufacturing for to increase rate capability in primary structure.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Airbus Operations Limited, BRISTOL £7,612,000 £ 3,806,000


Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited, London, United Kingdom £4,985,200 £ 2,492,600
GKN Aerospace Services Limited, East Cowes, United Kingdom £3,414,013 £ 1,707,007
GE Aviation Systems Limited, Cheltenham, United Kingdom £3,299,796 £ 1,649,899


10 25 50