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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has partnered with Australian company Conflux Technology for the development of a heat exchanger.

The heat exchanger will be developed using a metal additive manufacturing process. It will be integrated onto GA-ASI’s line of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).

Conflux Technology, which specialises in thermal and fluid engineering, is providing design expertise in the optimisation of additive manufacturing heat exchangers, that enable an increased performance of RPA.

GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue said: “GA-ASI and Conflux are developing novel and state-of-the-art thermal solutions for application to our existing and next-generation RPAS.

“This will allow enhanced endurance and lower manufacturing cost, as well as more flexibility in our product design and integration.”

Under Project Air 7003, GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian variant was selected by the Australian government to provide the Armed RPAS for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

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The MQ-9 RPA aircraft was selected for the project following its multi-role combat performance.

Additionally, the aircraft has the ability to support ad-hoc communications networks and interoperability with allies.

Conflux Technology CEO Michael Fuller said: “Fundamental efficiency gains require heat transfer innovations. In Conflux we have a highly innovative engineering team that blends first principles thermo-fluid dynamics with design creativity and additive manufacturing process expertise.

“Conflux heat exchangers derive their performance from highly complex geometries enabled by additive manufacturing.

“Our scientists and engineers, alongside their GA-ASI counterparts, will now develop heat exchange applications to improve fundamental efficiencies for GA-ASI’s RPA systems.”

Earlier this month, GA‑ASI flew a new MQ-9 reaper RPA to a customer location for the first time at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico.