GKN Aerospace to provide Korean ‘Smart UAV’ fuel system

7/17/2006 8:00 AM
Aerospace - Flexible Fuel and Flotation Systems

GKN Aerospace - FPT Industries has been selected as the fuel system supplier for the Korean Smart Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) development programme.

The FPT Industries ultra-lightweight fuel system for the Korean Smart UAV will enhance critical performance factors such as the ‘loiter on target’ time, range and payload of this platform. It will combine advanced composite materials with a new range of low mass fixtures and connectors, to create the most advanced fuel system available for UAV’s on the market.

FPT Industries has a track record in the application of composite flexible materials in the design and manufacture light weight fuel bladders to operate in extreme and rigorous environments. The Korean fuel system is based around 6 fuel tanks manufactured using advanced, flexible fuel bladder technology, with a supporting fuel supply and conditioning system which will optimise the fuel supply, and therefore platform performance, in any operating environment.

John Pritchard, Vice President Operation and Site Director for FPT Industries, comments:

“The growth in the use of UAV’s, and the potential of this market clearly make this a focus for the FPT business in the medium to long term. This Korean contract demonstrates the strength of our relationship with the Korean aerospace industry and places FPT Industries in a strong position in the development of civil UAVs.”

Smart UAV

Smart UAV is a developmental programme scheduled to run to 2012 with the aim of designing an intelligent, Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL), tilt-rotor UAV platform with levels of speed and reliability similar to general aviation aircraft. The vehicle will achieve low operating costs through the application of advanced structures and materials, through the use of technologies such as Collision Detection and Avoidance, failure diagnosis, intelligent flight control and active vibration/noise/speed control, and through on board monitoring systems such as Health and Usage Monitoring.

SMART UAV will offer both civil and government operators, who currently employ traditional, more expensive solutions (such as helicopters and fixed wing aircraft), a more cost effective and flexible solution to tasks such as weather forecasting, area and crowd monitoring, border patrol and inshore fishery patrols.

In addition, for operations such as television outside broadcast and disaster relief it will offer an effective means to assess activity across large areas swiftly and efficiently and will improve response times and the availability of information in a timely manner. In a market projected to reach a value of 10 billion US Dollars by 2012 Smart UAV is poised to be a technology leader with strong sales. and lead on to other developments as other applications emerge.