Wings Magazine

GKN extends supply of Predator UAS fuel bladders

Jan. 30, 2014, Worcestershire, U.K. - GKN Aerospace has signed a long term agreement with General Atomics covering the supply of a 'fit and forget' fuel bladder system for the Predator medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (MALE UAS).

January 30, 2014  By Carey Fredericks

These upgraded Predator UAS fuel bladders have been designed and
developed by GKN Aerospace working closely with General Atomics.Initial
production took place at the GKN Aerospace facility in Portsmouth, UK
and then transferred to the company's Tallassee, Alabama facility in
2010. Over 75 ship sets have been delivered to date. The new contract
extends this manufacture, requiring GKN Aerospace to supply a further
100 fuel bladder systems through to the end of 2014. Manufacture will
continue at the GKN Aerospace facility in Alabama.

The bladders
are being manufactured using the company's new vacuum forming process
and its latest poly-urethane (PU) material, which is extremely durable
and lightweight. Vacuum forming this material allows GKN  Aerospace to
create fuel bladders in complex shapes that fully exploit all available
space on the Predator airframe, maximizing 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.

Ron Kato, Vice President and Managing
Director, Special Products Group, GKN Aerospace comments: "We are very
proud to have been selected to provide what are vital items for the long
endurance Predator platform. We have been supplying fuel systems for
many decades and for many airframe platforms and invest constantly our
research and development activity in this area – allowing us to offer
more effective and more environmentally friendly systems. The Predator
programme fully exploits all our recent advances in both manufacturing
and materials technologies."



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