GKN Aerospace has been contracted by Eurocopter UK to develop upgraded fuel tanks as part of the UK RAF’s life extension programme (LEP) for its fleet of Puma helicopters.
The new self-sealing fuel tanks will enhance the helicopter’s survivability in today’s theatres of operation, providing extended protection for the crew against weapons such as heavy machine guns, vehicle and aircraft armaments. First deliveries of the new fuel tanks for integration and test purposes took place in February 2013.
GKN Aerospace provides the market’s most rapid self-sealing response to ballistic damage with 7.62mm to 20mm round protection available for all types of fuel containment systems. The company’s proven, ballistically tolerant technology, although typically integrated at the design phase of a vehicle, can also be retro-fitted or externally fitted at a later stage when it becomes critical to ensure fuel supply is maintained during frontline operations.
GKN Aerospace currently supplies self-sealing fuel tanks for the UK’s fleet of AW101 and AW159 helicopters and supplies similar technology for a number of fighting vehicles including the Supacat Jackal II high mobility vehicle.
Richard Dove, General Manager, GKN Aerospace – Portsmouth, explains “This contract with Eurocopter UK brings greater commonality to the UK military’s self-sealing fuel tank capability, effectively harmonising technology across platforms and ensuring efficient in-theatre logistic support. Over the long term, the focus for our market-leading self-sealing fuel systems team continues to be the provision of the best through life costs and in-service support to our customers.”
GKN Aerospace supplies full turnkey fuel system packages from fuel storage to engine feed, as well as flexible fuel bladders, crashworthy and self-sealing systems and rotationally moulded tanks, and range extender tanks, incorporating explosive suppressant and anti-slosh technology when required. Process and materials developments mean even stronger, lighter systems can exploit all the available space on the platform, maximising fuel load and airframe endurance.
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