A West Midlands aerospace factory which employs 700 workers has landed work on a new business jet which will become the fastest civil aircraft since Concorde.
Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems, which has factories in Coventry and Akron, US, has won a multi-million pound contract from Gulfstream Aerospace to provide an advanced wheel and braking system for the new G650 jet.
The deal is Meggitt's biggest ever wheels and brakes contract in the business aviation marketplace.
The company says it has the potential to provide a strong revenue stream over the life of the programme.
Capable of travelling 7,000 nautical miles, the G650 will offer the longest range of any business jet and, with a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 – only just below the speed of sound – it will be the fastest civil aircraft flying.
Due to take to the skies in the second half of next year, the G650 will be powered by two Rolls-Royce jets each providing some 17,000 pounds of thrust. Deliveries to the first customers are expected to begin in 2012.
The aircraft will be able to carry up to 18 passengers at altitudes more than 50,000 ft high – and while it will feature such luxury features as a full kitchen, a bar, satellite phones and internet connections, it will also be able to land at small airports, enabling its well-heeled occupants to bypass the time consuming hassle routinely suffered by full service airline passengers.
To help ensure Gulfstream meets the range and speed for the G650, Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems is developing new wheels and compact carbon brakes that will be optimised for the aircraft's minimum weight and flight envelope.
The company says that while lightweight, these new aluminium main wheels and brakes will also provide long life and guaranteed operating costs.
Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems' involvement with the G650 also includes the development of an 'intelligent' brake-by-wire control system.
It provides brake temperature information to the aircraft's avionics system for cockpit display to the two-man crew. Meggitt will also be tasked with integrating the G650's advanced tyre pressure monitoring system.
"Our work on the G650 builds on a very successful relationship with Gulfstream that dates back to the 1950s with the original Gulfstream I," said Ken Schwarz, president, Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems.
"The partnership has continued to evolve and for the last two years has seen us named by the Gulfstream as a 'Supplier of the Year'.
"Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems is the exclusive braking systems supplier for all six of Gulfstream's current and new aircraft. Indeed, every Gulfstream business aircraft lands on Meggitt wheels and brakes."
The first wheels and brakes are due to be provided to Gulfstream later this year.
Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems was formed earlier this year following the merger of Dunlop Aircraft Braking Systems and Aircraft Braking Systems Corporation.
In March Meggitt posted a 35 per cent rise in underlying pretax profit for the year to December 31, up from £149.2 million to £216.3 million, while turnover rose 31 per cent, from £670.3 million to £878.2 million.