General Atomics and GKN Aerospace have declared their intent to collaborate on composite tails for the Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
The Predator B line currently includes MQ-9A, Guardian, MQ-9A Extended Range, MQ-9A Big Wing, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and MQ-9B Sea Guardian.
According to a press release issued at the Farborough airshow, GA-ASI has been partnered with GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business unit in the Netherlands since 2016 for production and sustainment of Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper landing gear subsystems. In April of this year, GKN Aerospace Deutschland and GA-ASI entered into a Technical Assistance Agreement to expand GA-ASI’s carbon-composite manufacturing capabilities significantly by manufacturing major aerostructures for MQ-9B SkyGuardian, the latest evolution of the multi-mission Predator B, in Germany.
Following the successful completion of the required technical and commercial evaluations and agreement, GA-ASI also intends to perform composite manufacturing for Predator B tail structures at GKN facilities in the UK.
Linden Blue, CEO of 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.”
Michiel van der Maat, vice president business development defence, Aerostructures and Systems Europe and Asia of GKN Aerospace added in a release:
“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.”