New landing gear for Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA ASI) has unveiled a new trailing arm design for the existing main landing gear on its Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper UAV. According to a company statement, the design will be included in Block 5 aircraft, and will enhance and extend the UAV’s utility.
GA-ASI said the enhanced landing gear is available as a field retrofit to all Predator B/MQ-9 customers upon request. Reliability and performance improvements will include 30%+ increase in landing weight capacity, at the full Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) descent rate of 10 ft per second; growth path to increase gross takeoff weight by approximately 12% (10,500 lb vs. 11,700 lb); maintenance-free shock absorber, nitrogen pressurization not required; and full rejected takeoff brake system at growth maximum weight of 11,700 lb. It also includes provisions for automatic takeoff and landing capability and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) field upgrades
According to the company, the new landing gear successfully underwent full qualification, fatigue testing, and flight testing in January 2011. The flight test programme included fully instrumented loads validation, taxi testing, landings at a variety of weights and sink rates, and in-flight gear-swings. Only one minor revision to the original design was required following testing, which was a tribute to the success of the initial design effort.
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