San Diego Composites Inc.. (SDC, San Diego, Calif.) has begun the deliveries of carbon fiber components for the Leigh Aerosystems SkyEye R4G-50 UAV. The SkyEye R4G-50 UAV is the next generation of the R4E-50 UAV, which has been in service for more than three decades. The new R4G-50 has a wingspan of 30 ft (9.15 m), a payload capacity of 150 lb (68 kg) and flight endurance of 12 hours. Its payload can include high resolution multi-spectrum electro-optical sensors and synthetic aperture radars. The all-carbon fiber airframe incorporates a rugged landing gear allowing it to be operated from rough dirt runways or flat desert surfaces.
SDC is producing more than 50 separate parts for the airframe, including fuselage longerons, bulkheads and skins as well as the wing and tail spars, skins and control surfaces. SDC worked with Leigh Aerosystems to define materials and layups and performed analysis on the spars to assure adequate strength. A combination of aluminum, low-cost foam, and wash-out materials are being used for the production molds. All composite fabrication is taking place in SDC's 70,000-square-foot facility in San Diego.
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