General Atomics maximizes fuel capacity for US Navy’s first carrier-based UAV

General Atomics uses advanced composite expertise to develop integrated fuel tanks in MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling vehicle test article.

Related Topics:

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI, Poway, CA,US) announced July 4 it is using an integrated fuel tank structure to maximize fuel offload for its proposed concept for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling aircraft for the US Navy. GA-ASI applied its knowledge of advanced composite aircraft structures to develop integrated fuel tanks in a large-scale wing box test article and a full-scale wing skin pre-production validation article.

The wing box tested to failure via wing bending at GA-ASI’s Adelanto, CA, US structural test facility in November 2017. In April, the company verified the production readiness of the co-cured wing and tail components using both non-destructive and destructive inspections.

“The integral fuel tank wing box test article will reduce technical and schedule risk for the program,” says David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Specifically, through extensive validation of fuel containment sealing methods, advanced non-linear buckling finite element analysis models and thick composite laminate construction, we have accelerated engineering design consideration prior to the detail design phase and production.”

A full-scale inner-wing skin demonstration article built in March at GA-ASI’s Spanish Fork, UT, US facility verified the MQ-25 tooling concepts, lamination approach and processes. The team validated the outer mold line tooling approach for the build process which enables accelerated engineering and tooling fabrication for the MQ-25 program.

Boeing (Chicago, IL, US) and Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD, US) have also proposed concepts for the Navy’s MQ-25 program. 


Editor Pick

JEC World 2019 Preview

The JEC World trade show and conference, the largest composites event in the world, will be held at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center, March 12-14, 2019.