FPT Industries, a GKN Aerospace company, has formed a partnership with FR Aviation, a Cobham plc company, to design and manufacture range extending Auxiliary Cabin Fuel Tanks for the Australian Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the DHC-8-Q300. This partnership follows the recent award to Cobham plc of the CMS04 12 year contract to operate these aircraft for the Australian Customs Service.
These range extending fuel tanks will allow increased range and patrol time for the aircraft to improve coverage of more remote areas and allow aircraft to remain on station for a longer time during an incident.
John Pritchard, Vice President Operation and Site Director for FPT Industries, comments: “The growing requirement for range extending auxiliary fuel systems is being driven by an increase in the use of smaller airframes to undertake surveillance and monitoring flights. This has been made possible by today’s lightweight, highly capable electronic systems. Traditionally these smaller aircraft have lacked the range of larger airframes, however, our partnership with FR Aviation will enable us to respond to this need with an effective solution”.
FPT will be responsible for the design and manufacture of the fuel containment bladders and explosion suppressant foam filling whilst FR Aviation will supply the composite structure, mounting and installation system.
Each auxiliary fuel tank will contain up to 600 litres of fuel. These will be fitted to the DHC-8-Q300 to a contractually specified configuration. However, the tanks will be able to be installed or removed, adjusting the range and weight of the aircraft to suit specific mission requirements.
Consisting of a composite outer structure with an internal fuel bladder, these range extender tanks will fit into the existing seat track system, easing installation and minimising any modifications to the airframe. They have been developed to comply with European Aviation Safety Agency ETSO-C80 and CS25 and, as an additional safety feature, contain explosion suppressant safety foam.