The two aerospace firms will be jointly manufacturing the composite tails for GA-ASI’s Predator B Drone
GKN Aerospace declared their intent to collaborate with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI) on manufacturing composite tails for GA-ASI’s Predator® B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) series via a Letter of Interest (LOI) signed at the Farnborough Airshow 2018
“We are pleased to expand our relationship with GKN Aerospace as part of our growing industrial collaboration team in the UK,” said CEO, GA-ASI, Linden Blue. He further added, “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.”
GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business unit was partnered with GA-ASI in the Netherlands since 2016 for the production and sustainment of Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® landing gear subsystems. GKN Aerospace Deutschland and GA-ASI entered into a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) in April 2018 to expand GA-ASI’s carbon-composite manufacturing capabilities significantly by manufacturing major aero-structures 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 following the successful completion of the required technical and commercial evaluations and agreement.
“We are proud to have the opportunity to be involved in the manufacturing of a key component of the proven Predator B aircraft family,” said vice president business development defence, Aerostructures and Systems Europe and Asia of GKN Aerospace, Michiel van der Maat. “Our goal is to deliver structurally lightweight composite tails to GA-ASI that meet the highest certification standards while delivering best in class performance.”
The current product line of GA-ASI’s Predator drones includes the MQ-9A, Guardian, MQ-9A Extended Range, MQ-9A Big Wing, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and MQ-9B Sea Guardian. Over 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.