GKN Aerospace delivers first state-of-the-art Future Lynx airframe on schedule
GKN Aerospace delivered the first complete, state-of-the-art, Future Lynx Airframe to AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, on schedule, yesterday. The Company has achieved challenging technological goals for this airframe including an 80% reduction in parts count when compared with the existing Super Lynx airframe.
AgustaWestland, as the design authority for Future Lynx, has worked in partnership with GKN Aerospace to implement an effective design-to-cost methodology which has driven the product design.
Marcus Bryson, Chief Executive of GKN Aerospace comments "Our goal has been to create a highly effective operational airframe with an extremely efficient design and a truly cost effective manufacturing cycle. We have achieved this through innovations across the manufacturing process and through a close working relationship between AgustaWestland and GKN Aerospace Yeovil and our UK-based supplier team."
GKN Aerospace has made extensive use of monolithic machined components, replacing a traditional fabricated detail structure, to realise the dramatic reduction in parts count. In addition, 3 dimensional digital modelling has ensured highly accurate part-to-part assembly, whilst state-of-the-art assembly tooling has been introduced which can rotate through 360 degrees and has vertical movement for ease of access. Assembly personnel then use a stand alone wireless IT workstation to apply digital assembly instructions developed by GKN Aerospace directly from CATIA. This has eliminated the need for hard copy drawings and will enable future configuration changes to be communicated instantly and efficiently to the required personnel.
Bryson continues: "Throughout the design phase and immediately following contract award by the UK MOD, in June 2006, we placed a dedicated team of engineers within the AgustaWestland design office. This allowed a fully integrated team to develop and this has been critical to our success, and to our meeting - and in a number of cases exceeding - some ambitious goals for the new airframe. Together, our teams have done a quite remarkable job."
GKN Aerospace is responsible for supplying the complete, assembled airframe for 70 Future Lynx helicopters for the Royal Navy and Army. The Company manages the supply chain and carries out airframe assembly, which takes place at its Yeovil facility. GKN Aerospace, Yeovil, has been supporting AgustaWestland through the supply of assemblies for the Lynx family, which now includes the complete assembled airframe, throughout the Lynx programme life. For the last 7 years GKN has supplied all Lynx airframes - including for a number of successful export programmes.
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