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GKN begins V-tail production for SkyGuardian
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
GKN Aerospace has been a supplier to GA-ASI's MQ-9 program for a decade, starting with the design and build of the fuel bladder system in Portsmouth. This further contract will help its drive to gain defence business.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has signed a contract for GKN Aerospace to manufacture the advanced composite V-tails for GA-ASI's new MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) from their Cowes facility in the U.K. SkyGuardian is the baseline system of the UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) Protector RG Mk1 and has also been selected by Belgian Defence and the Australian Defence Force. This represents another important milestone in the 10-year strategic relationship between GA-ASI and GKN Aerospace, and adds to the strong investment GA-ASI is making in world-leading UK industries.

GA-ASI and GKN Aerospace had previously entered into a pre-production contract, under which GA-ASI provided the required engineering technical data and tooling, and GKN Aerospace developed their manufacturing processes and produced demonstrator parts. Under this latest agreement, GKN Aerospace will begin full rate production of the V-tails from the Cowes facility to support MQ-9B aircraft production.

GKN Aerospace has been a global supplier to GA-ASI's MQ-9 program for a decade, with the strategic partnership on GA-ASI's world-leading RPAS starting in 2010. Activities began with the design and build of the “fit and forget” fuel bladder system in Portsmouth, UK, followed by the production of fuel bladders in the USA. Today, GKN Aerospace manufactures a range of products including the state-of-the-art lightweight landing gear system, which it produces in the Netherlands.

“We value our long relationship with GKN Aerospace as a strategic supplier of critical aerospace subsystems to support our global supply chain,” says Tommy Dunehew, vice president of International Strategic Development for GA-ASI. “We are pleased to expand this relationship with composite structures manufactured in the UK. This will mean that not only the RAF's Protector will have UK-manufactured tails, but the global MQ-9B fleet will also benefit from tails manufactured in the UK.”

Krisstie Kondrotis, President of GKN Aerospace's Defence business, says: “We are extremely proud to be a key supplier for GA-ASI on the MQ-9B programme and this agreement helps to strengthen that partnership. We have ambitious plans to grow our Defense business and this is an important milestone for GKN Aerospace, and especially the Cowes facility, paving the way for continued growth in the UK for advanced aerostructures manufacturing. GA-ASI is the market leader in RPAS, while GKN Aerospace is a market and technology leader in advanced aerostructures, special products and lightweight technologies. Our long-term collaboration continues to demonstrate the strong commitment the two companies share.”

Contact details from our directory:
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) Airframer
GKN Aerospace Air Refuelling Systems, Aircraft Control Surfaces, Aircraft Doors, Aircraft Flooring, Aircraft Landing Gear, Aircraft Structural Components, Cable Assemblies, Composite Structures, Electrical Wire & Cable, Empennages, Engine Housings, Engine Inlets, Engine Nozzles, Engine Parts, Flotation Gear, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Fuselage Sections, Helicopter Assemblies, Helicopter Landing Gear, Ice Protection/Prevention Equipment, Nacelles, Refueling Equipment, Transparent Canopies, Turbine Engine Blades, Windshields, Winglets, Wings
Related aircraft programs:
General Atomics MQ-9
Related directory sectors:
Structural Components
Composites