|Beluga XL aircraft. Photo: Airbus|
[Avionics Today 09-16-2015] The new Beluga program, Beluga XL, has successfully passed the latest maturity gate milestone — marking the end of the concept phase or design freeze at aircraft level. The maturity gate review demonstrated that the Beluga XL program is robust and mature enough to move to the next phase of development, the detailed design phase.
The Beluga XL was launched in November 2014 to address the transport capacity requirement to support the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases. Based on the A330-200 freighter with a large re-use of existing components and equipment, the Beluga XL will run on Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The fleet of five Beluga XL aircraft will provide Airbus with an additional 30 percent extra transport capacity. The first of five Beluga XLs will enter into service in 2019.