Orbital to supply UAV engines to Boeing

04/05/2015 - 15:19

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Engine technology developer Orbital Corporation has been named the preferred supplier of engines and propulsion systems for Boeing’s ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Boeing's ScanEagle UAV project.

Engine technology developer Orbital Corporation has been named the preferred supplier of engines and propulsion systems for Boeing’s ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Orbital said it would provide its new UAV engine and propulsion system to the ScanEagle project, with initial orders to be manufactured out of its facilities in Balcatta.

“Orbital’s UAV engine is the first reciprocating internal combustion propulsion system to be engineered from the ground up specifically for UAV applications,” the company said.

“The new technology delivers advancements not available on other aircraft in the same class, including real-time monitoring and diagnostics of all critical systems, sensor and actuator redundancy, and extensive black box recording capability.”

Orbital and Boeing have been working together since 2013 as part of an initial design, development and validation contract to supply a new engine for the ScanEagle program.

Orbital said its UAV engine weighed under 150 grams, with exhaust systems designed to minimise noise and heat signature.

“Orbital and Boeing are confident the new engine and propulsion system will increase ScanEagle’s mission reliability while reducing life-cycle costs,” it said.

While the value of the contract was not disclosed, Orbital said it was in talks with production-intent suppliers to gather necessary feedback to develop a long-term engine supply contract with Boeing.

Orbital managing director Terry Stinson said the company had made a major investment in the design and development of innovative advanced technology engine products and the success of its UAV engine would deliver a long-held ambition to be a manufacturer of a world class best-of-breed engine.

Orbital shares closed 15.5 per cent higher to 52 cents a share.

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