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V System Composites has been awarded a contract from the House of Batteries, Fountain Valley, CA to produce composite battery boxes for the Raven UAV.
Weighing in at four and a half pounds with a five-foot wingspan and stretching a mere 38 inches in length, the Raven is one of the smallest vehicles in the Army, but its aerial reconnaissance value has filled a niche at the battalion level when larger UAVs are unavailable.
VSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of DR Technologies, who provide engineered composite structures products for aerospace markets, is under contract to produce over 4,000 boxes by the end of 2005, and anticipates follow-on orders for future Raven UAVs.
The boxes are produced using low-cost processing techniques at VSC using an aramid/epoxy prepreg from Bryte Technologies, Inc. The boxes are manufactured in a closed matched-metal mould process with a 250 deg F cure. VSC will produce these boxes in their new, expansion facility in Anaheim, CA.
“This contract is a perfect fit to our current product lines, and allows us to demonstrate our high-volume, low cost composite techniques”, stated Mike Louderback, VSC’s President and General Manager. “In addition to our growing aerospace VARTM and RTM products, we are finding more affordable ways to produce composites using conventional prepreg technologies, such as is being demonstrated on this UAV battery box and also on the battery boxes we are producing for the Apache Helicopter”, said Louderback.
V Systems’ Paul Oppenheim said that the composite battery enclosure for the Apache Helicopter is being produced for the Saft battery company www.saftbatteries.com, the largest aviation battery company in the world. VSC are working in collaboration with Saft to convert all of their battery enclosures from metal to composites, primarily for weight savings.
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