General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) is working with long-time collaborator Conflux Technology on the design and manufacture of a new Fuel Oil Heat Exchanger (FOHE) for the MQ-9B. GA-ASI is developing this enhanced thermal solution for its MQ-9B SkyGuardian® and SeaGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
GA-ASI is a leading developer of unmanned aircraft, and Conflux is a thermal management system solution company headquartered in Australia. Conflux is a pioneer in mastering Additive Manufacturing (AM) for heat exchanger applications. The two companies have worked together since 2018 to develop heat exchangers for aerospace.
“GA-ASI wants to optimize and augment the performance of our current units by minimizing the differential pressure across the FOHE,” said Stephen Eiting, vice president of Manufacturing Operations for GA-ASI. “We want to maximize the overall heat extraction capacity, while looking for opportunities to lower the mass and volume of the FOHE.”
Another GA-ASI objective is to develop an AM heat exchanger design that can be 3D printed, post-processed, and bench-tested. As part of this most recent purchase order, Conflux will produce a fully functional prototype unit that can be tested by GA-ASI.
“Our mission is transforming heat exchanger performance. For our project with GA-ASI this means drop-in replacements that remove thermal load and maintaining a compact profile, while also increasing performance to meet higher system demand. When you are leading the charge on advanced technology, you need a world class team and agility to do it right. This is where Conflux comes in,” said Abe Masoud, Business Development Manager – North America.
The two companies have worked on four different AM projects since 2018. Most recently the two teams have leveraged AM to develop a cold plate heat exchanger (HX) that provides additional cooling capacity for its high-dissipation Line-Replaceable Unit (LRU) used in various GA-ASI’s UAS platforms.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.
For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com