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"Avio": technology takes to the air


Avio: technology takes to the air Rome - (Ign) - If you look under the wings of a civil aeroplane, the engines don't look particularly complex. You wouldn't imagine that building them involves various partners, all with unique experience and equipped with specialist technology. However, this is the case: a reaction motor is so complex that building it involves bringing together a variety of engineering and manufacturing skills. Such as those offered by a major engine manufacturer like Rolls-Royce, and by the leading producer of components and traction systems, the Italian company Avio. The heart of many of the reaction motors used in civil and military aircraft are in fact made entirely in Italy. With Rolls-Royce, Avio is working on the construction of the new Trent 900, the turbofan with 80,000 lbs thrust used on the European giant of the air, the Airbus A380. With General Electric, the world's leading manufacturer of reaction motors, Avio produces the GE90, the most powerful turbofan for civil applications, capable of a thrust of 115,000 lbs. And with Pratt&Whitney, Avio produce the power transmission for the new PW 308 family of engines.

Avio is an entirely Italian success, and has become a benchmark for quality in a highly specialised sector of the International Aeronautics industry. Its story is almost as long as that of modern aviation. Avio was in fact established in Rivalta, near Turin, in 1908, 5 years after the Wright brothers' first flight. Their first product was an engine that would make history, the SA8/75, the first entirely Italian aircraft propeller engine. It was built by Fiat, and its subsequent versions and developments would equip most aircraft produced by Italian manufacturers up until the Second World War. Almost 100 years after being established, Avio has now left the Fiat group and is controlled by Finmeccanica and institutional investors. It can count on 13 production facilities spread throughout the world, and almost 5000 employees, most of whom are highly specialised and qualified technologists. The company operates in four main fields: modules and components for civil and military aeroplanes and helicopter propulsors; maintenance, assistance and services for civil and military aircraft propulsors; space propulsion systems; and engines for marine applications using aeronautical technology.

In the military field, moreover, Avio at the same time performs two distinct functions, combining the production of engine components with systems engineering, and is responsible for assembling and providing final certification for the engines used by the Italian armed forces. Cases in point are the EJ200 propulsor, used in the modern European Eurofighter Typhoon fighter plane, the RB199 used on Tornado fighters, and the new F124 engine to be used on the forthcoming Aermacchi M346. Not to mention the transmission systems for the F136 engine for the new US multipurpose Joint Strike Fighter, and the F119, which will be used on the F22 Raptor, the US Air Force's new generation fighter bomber. As far as regards marine applications, Avio will produce the LM2500 turbines, at present in service on the Garibaldi aircraft carriers. These will power the future great Italian flagship Andrea Doria and the Orizzonte frigates, soon to be put into service by the Italian and French navies. But that's not all: is also behind in the liquid oxygen pump of the Vulcan, the engine used in Ariane 5, the French spacecraft. And the company has also been entrusted with the complete servicing and future maintenance of the General Electric turbines which equip the frigates and cruisers of the American Navy.
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