Aluminium-Beryllium composite finds home in Defence UAV

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RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
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Advanced metal matrix composite materials are being used to provide a performance edge for UAV sensor systems used by US defence forces.

UTC Aerospace Systems has awarded Materion with a contract for AlBeMet metal matrix composite parts for its MS-177 long-range, multi-spectral imaging (MSI) sensor. The sensor is currently undergoing integration testing and qualification for the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

Materion produces AlBeMet, an aluminium beryllium composite, which combines the high modulus and low-density characteristics of beryllium with the fabrication and mechanical property behaviours of aluminium. Because of its excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio, AlBeMet is used extensively in optical, structural and electronic housing components in aircraft, satellite and commercial applications.

The MS-177 sensor gives the US military long-range capabilities to see with greater clarity than previous technologies. The Global Hawk system is designed to gather high-resolution images of large areas of land and sea, day or night.

“We work to stay ahead of advancing technologies, and we’re proud of our work with UTC Aerospace Systems which allows us to develop cost-effective advanced material components used on this cutting-edge sensor technology for the US armed forces,” said Glenn Maxwell, President, Materion Performance Alloys and Composites. “Our advanced materials enable our customers to maximise performance on high-end imaging systems.”

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