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Boeing Begins Selection Of Vendors For 747-8

Propulsion System Suppliers Chosen

Boeing announced Wednesday the team of outside suppliers that will provide propulsion systems for the recently introduced 747-8 family of long-haul airliners.

The external team includes General Electric for engines, Middle River Aircraft Systems for the thrust reverser system, and Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., for the nacelle and strut. The internal supplier team includes Boeing Winnipeg for the aft pylon fairing, Boeing Portland for the engine mounts, and Boeing Propulsion Systems Division for the engine build-up and strut build-up.

"All of these suppliers submitted very competitive bids and we are pleased that they will be able to meet our program targets," said Jeff Peace, vice president - program manager, 747-8 Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are excited to have all of them as part of our supplier team for the newest member of the 747 family, which we believe represents the shape of the future."

As was reported last November in Aero-News, the 747-8 family will utilize many of the advanced materials and systems Boeing is developing for the upcoming 787 Dreamliner. The line will include both the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger model, and the 747-8 Freighter. First customer deliveries of the 747/787 hybrid are expected in 2009.

GE will supply the GEnx-2B67 engine -- a variant of the Dreamliner's GEnx engine -- for the airplane. In jumbo jet duty, the engine will be rated at 66,500 pounds of thrust. The first full GEnx-2B67 engine will go to test in 2007, with engine certification scheduled for 2008.

"GE is very excited to be selected as the powerplant for the Boeing 747-8 airplane," said Tom Brisken, general manager of the GEnx program at GE Aviation. "The GEnx engine is based on proven technologies and will provide outstanding economic benefits to the 747-8 program."

Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS) will develop, certify and produce the thrust-reverser system for the 747-8. The company will become a new direct supplier to Boeing, supplying the thrust-reverser system directly to Boeing instead of through GE.

MRAS will begin the design phase immediately, and expects to deliver its first production hardware in 2008. The supplier will develop an all-composite thrust reverser for the 747-8, in keeping with the GEnx engine's extensive use of composites.

"Our team is excited to be working directly with the Boeing 747-8 Program team," said MRAS president and general manager Sagar Patel. "Our advances in composites, acoustics and weight reduction are a perfect fit to the new technologies Boeing is incorporating into this airplane."

Former Boeing division Spirit AeroSystems won its first contract since forming its own company last June. The company will design and build the 747-8's engine struts and nacelles. Work will include the upper fairing, fan cowl support beam and strut box for the inboard and outboard struts.

Spirit's work package for the nacelles includes the inlet assembly, which will incorporate a seamless, one-piece composite acoustic barrel for a 105-in. diameter fan, composite fan cowl doors, the primary exhaust with sound-dampening chevrons, and plug (or cone).

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.mras-usa.com, www.spiritaero.com, www.ge.com

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