Companies to collaborate on composite tails for the Predator B remotely piloted aircraft
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and GKN Aerospace have declared their intention to collaborate on composite tails for the former’s Predator B Remotely-Piloted Aircraft (RPA) via a letter of interest signed at the show.
Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI, said: “We are pleased to expand our relationship with GKN Aerospace as part of our growing industrial collaboration team in the UK. We have seen the results of GKN Aerospace’s extensive experience in advanced composite manufacturing first-hand and look forward to working with its team.”
Partnerships and agreements across Europe
GA-ASI has partnered on the production and support of Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper landing gear subsystems with GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business unit in the Netherlands since 2016.
In April, GKN Aerospace Deutschland and GA-ASI entered into a technical assistance agreement (TAA) to expand GA-ASI’s carbon-composite manufacturing capabilities significantly by manufacturing major aerostructures for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, the latest evolution of the multi-mission Predator B, in Germany.
GA-ASI also intends to perform composite manufacturing for Predator B tail structures at GKN facilities in the UK.
325 Predator B built to date
Michiel van der Maat, Vice President Business Development Defence, Aerostructures and Systems Europe and Asia of GKN Aerospace, said: “We are proud to have the opportunity to be involved in the manufacturing of a key component of the proven Predator B aircraft family. Our goal is to deliver structurally-lightweight composite tails to GA-ASI that meet the highest certification standards while delivering best in class performance.”
GA-ASI’s Predator B line currently includes MQ-9A, Guardian, MQ-9A Extended Range, MQ-9A Big Wing, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and MQ-9B SeaGuardian.
More than 325 Predator B aircraft have been built to date and have flown over 2.2 million flight hours supporting the U.S Air Force, Royal Air Force, Italian Air Force, French Air Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and other customers.