General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has agreed to collaborate with GKN Aerospace’s business unit Fokker Technologies to develop landing gear systems for the Predator B remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

Through the partnership, the companies will jointly develop a landing gear system for Predator B, by meeting anticipated Dutch industrial and regional benefit (IRB) obligations associated with the potential procurement of the RPA by the Dutch Armed Forces.

The companies are also evaluating a joint research project to design and develop the next generation advanced composite landing gear for the aircraft.

Fokker Technologies vice-president Michiel van der Maat said: "We are proud to partner with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the innovative Predator B system.

"This initial contract marks the beginning of what we expect to be a long-term endeavour of technology and process development.

"We look forward to advancing our cutting-edge landing gear technologies to provide the best value for Predator B, enhancing both affordability and quality."

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The Predator B RPA is designated MQ-9 Reaper by the US Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) customers.

Powered by Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, the aircraft features a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture.

The multi-mission aircraft has the ability to fly for more than 27 hours continuously at speeds of 240KTAS.

According to a statement posted on GA-ASI’s website, Predator B is better than what the Dutch Air Forces needs for persistent remotely piloted intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

The landing gear may be leveraged by current Predator B customers including the USAF, RAF, Italian Air Force, French Air Force, Spanish Air Force, US Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection, NASA, and soon others.

Image: GA-ASI’s Predator B. Photo: courtesy of General Atomics.