Following the recent ‘first metal cut’, the production of the first Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for the new long range Airbus A321XLR is now underway.

The RCT, which is unique to this variant, is a permanently installed high-capacity fuel tank which makes maximum volumetric use of the aircraft's lower fuselage.

The RCT structure, which is integrated in fuselage Sections 15 and 17 is located behind the main landing gear bay and holds up to 12,900 litres – which is more fuel than several optional Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs) combined could hold previously in the A321 Family.

Moreover, since the RCT takes up less space in the cargo hold, it frees-up underfloor volume for additional cargo and baggage on long range routes of up to an unprecedented 4,700nm.

Premium AEROTEC, which was commissioned by Airbus in September last year to manufacture the RCT, is currently completing the structure's sub-assembly at its factory in Augsburg, Germany.

This phase involves production of the other RCT parts, followed by structural assembly, systems equipping and testing prior to delivery to Airbus' major component assembly (MCA) facility in Hamburg early next year, where the tank will be integrated into the aircraft's rear fuselage.

The A321XLR, the “next evolutionary step” in Airbus' single-aisle products, has been designed to maximise overall commonality with the rest of the A320neo family, while introducing minimal changes needed to give the aircraft an ‘Xtra Long Range’ with “increased revenue payload and best travel experience.”

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