South African aerospace company Aerosud said it has been awarded major components contract by Airbus Group’s Airbus Military for the design and manufacturing of A400M airlifter interior over the full lifecycle of the A400M program.

Aerosud will be responsible for designing and manufacturing of the A400M cockpit and fuselage interior linings, wingtips and galleys over the full lifecycle of the program. The interior linings will be manufactured from advanced composite and metallic materials tailored to meet stringent military specifications and requirements. The wingtips are complex elements and have been engineered and produced for aerodynamic efficiency and they house some of the aircraft’s critical self-protection and safety devices.

South Africa’s aeronautical industry’s economic is largely driven by Airbus program and this deal underlines Airbus’ continuous belief in South Africa’s aerospace industry.

So far over the years, Airbus has contracted about R4 billion worth of work to South African aero industry and this year, following recent and other transactions it made with Denel Aerostructures and Aerosud , the company said it envisages other new contracts and additional sourcing in South Africa and expects to significantly increase the R350 million manufacturing activity it made in the country last year.

Successful military transport aircraft programs normally run for over 50-years periods. With this contract, Aerosud steps into a Tier One supplier category in its own right with design, engineering and manufacturing responsibilities. The deal will also create new jobs and revenues for South Africa.

Aerosud said it has made a $1.36 million (R13.6-million) capital investment by installing a Continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermo-form Plastic (CFRTP) press at its premises on the eastern side of AFB Waterkloof to provides unique capabilities for the A400M program and to expand its business with Airbus in this specialized manufacturing niche.

“While the CFRTP press has been developed and installed primarily for the A400M program, it positions Aerosud – and South Africa – to expand its business with Airbus in this specialized manufacturing niche,” said Paul Potgieter, Aerosud managing director.

Aerosud and Airbus relationship extend back to the early 2002 when Aerosud became a key supplier of components for the European giant’s commercial products.

Aerosud manufactures products for the A320 fleets of single-aisle jet aircraft and for the new A350XWB long-haul airliner