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ACG Prepregs Keep Watchkeeper 450 UAV Flying High

  • Monday, 5th April 2010
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

ACG has been qualified by global defence electronics company Elbit Systems to supply materials for the construction of the Thales Watchkeeper 450 (WK450) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).

Thales UK selected WK450 as the aerial platform central to their Watchkeeper surveillance system procured by the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD).

The use of ACG’s materials on the WK450, a development of the well established Elbit’s Hermes 450 – constructed from ACG’s LTM26EL prepregs, strengthens the ties that exist between ACG and Elbit Systems. The build of the WK450 UAVs is carried out by Lola Composites Ltd, Huntingdon – UK and integrated at U-Tacs, Leicester – UK.

Developed by the Group’s global research facility in Heanor – UK for use in the primary and secondary structures of FAR23 approved aircraft and UAVs, ACG say that MTM46 can attain a glass transition temperature (Tg) of 180°C and offers excellent retention of mechanical properties under ‘hot/wet’ conditions.

However, of great significance was the fact that MTM46 was developed for Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) processing. Following a low temperature/low pressure initial cure at 80°C, which can make use of low cost tooling, performance is further developed using a free-standing post cure to achieve the required material performance. Combined with excellent handling characteristics and extended out life of 60 days, MTM46 has proved to be an effective solution to the WK450’s structural requirements.

The WK450 UAV, fitted with an advanced sensor suite and the Watchkeeper surveillance system, provides 24/7 all-weather, day and night exploitation.

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