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GKN Aerospace to create lightweight fuel tanks for Bell Relentless helicopter


First application of new high-performance material brings significant weight reduction

GKN Aerospace, October 21, 2013 - GKN Aerospace has won a multi-million dollar, life-of-programme contract from Bell Helicopter to develop and supply crashworthy, state-of-the-art fuel tanks for the new Bell 525 Relentless Super Medium helicopter.

GKN Aerospace is exhibiting on booth C9030 at NBAA, 22 – 24 October, 2013.

These bespoke tanks will be manufactured using the company’s newly developed, lightweight fuel cell material. Using this material, the company is able to produce fuel tanks that weigh less than comparable in-service tanks, and also meet the rigorous performance requirements for Technical Standing Order (TSO C80) and Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR27/29).

Phil Swash, CEO, GKN Aerospace - Europe & Special Products states: “The Bell 525 Relentless programme is very important to GKN Aerospace as the launch programme for our innovative new fuel cell material. We believe this material establishes a technical advantage in fuel systems technology that will become the industry benchmark.”

The Bell 525 Relentless units will be manufactured at the company’s Alabama fuel systems facility. First deliveries of developmental units will be made to Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, TX, USA later this year.

Today, GKN Aerospace is a market-leading fuel systems supplier providing full turnkey packages from fuel storage to engine feed, as well as flexible fuel bladders, crashworthy and self-sealing systems, rotationally moulded tanks and range extender tanks, incorporating ballistic protection and anti-slosh technology. For the military market, the company’s self-seal fuel system technology provides up to 50 caliber round protection to all types of fuel containment devices.

GKN Aerospace has already been selected to supply key metallic and composite structures for the Bell 525 Relentless helicopter fuselage (see press release dated 07/09/12). Two GKN Aerospace North American facilities, in St. Louis, Missouri and Tallassee, Alabama are involved in this work package which includes the supply of composite and aluminium fuselage panels and structural parts for the cockpit, cabin and tailboom of the airframe. Bell Helicopter is a key customer with GKN Aerospace supplying critical structures and systems for a number of Bell programmes as well as for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey.

Bell Helicopter: Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.


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Bell 525 Relentless



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