It looks like Boeing’s penchant for supply chain convolutions is spreading down through their tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers.
Hitco Carbon Composites announced on May 27, 2008 that it has signed a
long term agreement with Alenia Aeronautica, S.p.A., a Finmeccanica
Company, to supply the trailing edge components for the Boeing 787
horizontal stabilizer. Hitco will begin delivering flight hardware in the second quarter of 2008. In addition, Alenia has selected Hitco to supply a range of other composite components for the B 787.
A little late in the game as several production lines around the world are already cranked up for the 787, but I could envision several rational reasons for the delay.
So what’s so interesting about this? Think about the supply chain. Hitco is located in southern California. Alenia makes the horizontal stabilizer at its Grottaglie plant in Italy. Then those components, along with other composite airframe sections, are transported to Boeing’s Everett factory via the DreamLifter.
Let’s see… by my estimation that’s about 12,500 miles from Los Angeles to Grottaglie to Everett. And Los Angeles to Everett? About 1,000 miles.
Hmmm… I guess somehow that makes sense. In someone’s mind.