GA-ASI Introduces New Design on Predator B/mq-9 Reaper Landing Gear

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced the availability of a new trailing arm design for the existing main landing gear on its Predator® B/MQ-9 Reaper UAS.

“Our engineers and suppliers have worked hard to develop a landing gear design that will enhance and extend the utility of this multi-purpose aircraft for our customers,” said David Alexander, vice president of engineering, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI.  “The new landing gear is just one of many value-added features that will be included in Block 5 Predator Bs.”

The enhanced landing gear is available as a field retrofit to all Predator B/MQ-9 customers upon request and is expected to improve the reliability and performance of the aircraft significantly as it offers the following benefits:

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  • 30%+ increase in landing weight capacity, at the full Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) descent rate of 10 ft per second
  • Growth path to increase gross takeoff weight by approximately 12% (10,500 lb vs. 11,700 lb)
  • Maintenance-free shock absorber, nitrogen pressurization not required
  • Full rejected takeoff brake system at growth maximum weight of 11,700 lb
  • Includes provisions for automatic takeoff and landing capability and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) field upgrades

The new landing gear successfully underwent full qualification, fatigue testing, and flight testing in January 2011. The flight test program included fully instrumented loads validation, taxi testing, landings at a variety of weights and sink rates, and in-flight gear-swings. Only one minor revision to the original design was required following testing, which was a tribute to the success of the initial design effort.

The main landing gear titanium strut is produced by PCC Structurals, Inc; the shock absorber is made by Taylor Devices; and the wheel and brakes is a Parker Hannifin Corporation product.

Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Date: Jan 9, 2012