To Airbus, Saab supplies parts of the wings to the A320, A350 and A380, while Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has seven different doors and hatches delivered by Saab. Approximately 550 people are employed within civil aircraft production at Saab with operations located in Linköping, Sweden.
Saab produces 32 metre long MOLEs for the A380
MOLE stands for the "Mid and Outer Fixed Leading Edge" on an aircraft wing. MOLEs for the world's largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, are produced by Saab in Linköping, Sweden.
Saab's contract with Airbus includes the development and production of MOLEs for the A380. Each MOLE is 32 metres in length and exceeding two tonnes. It is the single largest part ever produced by Saab.
The metal components and machined parts are produced at Saab's plant in Linköping. The final assembly of the MOLEs also takes place there. The first delivery was made in 2003.
The MOLEs are driven by truck to Airbus in Broughton, in the UK, where the entire wing is assembled. The wing's journey then continues to Airbus in Toulouse, France, where final assembly of the aircraft takes place.
Saab-developed ailerons for the popular A320 aircraft
Manufacturing of ailerons for the popular Airbus A320 aircraft.
Saab is responsible for developing and producing ailerons for the A320 family.
The A320 family is one of the major sellers for Airbus and the production of ailerons is a high-volume programme for Saab.
Saab has been producing ailerons for the A320 family since 2001, but in 2006, Saab realised that the aileron design could be improved and came up with a new design, which is the version now being built. The new version has the same working features and properties as the earlier version but with just half the number of components. Consequently, the time and costs for production have been significantly reduced.
The ailerons are produced using composite material. They are manufactured in a paced line, similar to the production in the car industry.
The aileron sits on the outer edge of the wing and can be angled upwards and downwards. Its function is to control how the aircraft moves (rotates) around its longitudinal axis. Ailerons always operate in pairs, one of which is angled downward to increase the lift on the wing, while the other is angled upwards to reduce the lift on the wing. As a result, the aircraft rolls (rotates around its own axis).
Saab Aerostructures production facility in Linköping, Sweden
Wing parts for the A350 produced at Saab
In December 2013, Saab and Airbus signed their latest deal. This time, the deal centred around the design, development and production of the attachment structure for the landing flaps for the A350XWB-1000 (XWB stands for extra wide body and 1000 means that it is the largest aircraft in the A350 family). The landing flaps are attached to the wing's trailing edge and are extended at low speeds, i.e. during take-off and landing.
Through the A350 deal, Saab has once again boosted its role as a partner of Airbus. Saab is the only supplier of the attachment structure for the A350XWB-1000. The work package consists of several different metal and composite items that are delivered to different places.
The A350 deal means that Saab is now involved in the A320, A380 and A350 programmes.
Doors for the Boeing 787
Saab develops, industrialises and manufactures all cargo doors and access hatches for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The agreement with Boeing was signed in 2005.
The cargo bay doors are supplied complete with hydraulic, mechanical and electronics systems, ready for attachment to the fuselage. The doors are manufactured largely from composite materials, improving performance and reducing weight.
The ailerons for the A320 are produced using composite material.
Saab working with Airbus for greener aviation
As part of Clean Sky, one of the largest pan-European environmental projects ever undertaken, Saab is helping the EC and Europe's aerospace companies to make aviation more environmentally friendly. The goal is an ambitious one: to reduce European air traffic's emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and noise by 20-40 percent by 2020. Saab is involved in the project along with several other aerospace companies in order to reach that goal through the use of new technology.
As part of Clean Sky, Saab and others including Airbus are developing a new wing with laminar flow properties that reduce drag and thereby fuel consumption and emissions. This development will provide the basis for aircraft wings of the future.
Saab's expertise in aerodynamics has been crucial in the development of the wing panel, and a great deal of effort has gone into improving the wing's aerodynamic properties in order to maintain the laminar flow and ensure less drag and reduced fuel consumption of at least 5%.