GA-ASI selects GKN Aerospace for MQ-9B RPA
GKN Aerospace has been selected by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for the design, development and manufacture of fuel bladders for Predator B MQ-9B RPAS, the company announced on 3 May.
The agreement covers the fuel bladder system for the first production aircraft scheduled for 2018, with a contract value of $15 million when the aircraft enters into service with NATO's UAV airworthiness requirements. MQ-9B is a Type-Certifiable version of GA-ASI's Predator B product line.
Under the agreement, GKN Aerospace will work with GA-ASI to design and manufacture the fuel bladders at the GKN Aerospace facility in Tallassee, Alabama.
The GKN Aerospace-designed and developed fuel systems are manufactured using the company's new vacuum forming process and durable and lightweight poly-urethane material.
According to GKN, vacuum forming this material allows fuel bladders to be created in complex shapes that fully exploit all available space on the Predator airframe, maximising the fuel load capacity and platform endurance. These developments also produce a bladder system with a lower parts count, simplifying manufacture, bladder installation and system support.
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