Orbital recently announced that the company has been contracted to supply engines for use in vehicles manufactured by Textron, Inc. subsidiary AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The heavy fuel engines Orbital is supplying utilize the company's new FlexDI Engine Management system, which enables vehicles to use fuels such as JP5 and JP8, satisfying a U.S. Department of Defense policy which eliminates gasoline fuels for safety and logistic reasons; the DoD's "one fuel" policy.
Based in Perth, Western Australia, Orbital is focused on providing green product design and development to manufacturers of engines and engine management systems. Orbital technology has been used in the manufacture of a wide variety of vehicles, including motorcycles, marine and recreational vehicles, automobiles, and trucks.
FlexDI engines are intended to be installed in AAI's Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS), which will be used in fee-for-service operations under a recently won contract from the U.S. Navy and Special Operations Command. The new engine has been designed with a smaller size in mind, in order to be lighter and more fuel efficient, increasing the range of a typical SUAS mission by 40%, or enabling the vehicle to carry a larger payload.
Terry Stinson, CEO and managing director of Orbital, said, "New ground had to be broken with AAI to meet their aggressive SUAS engine requirements, and we have been able to successfully develop and supply the demonstration engines from our Perth facility. This success now leads to production supply of engine systems. This is good example of Australian innovation, and demonstrates Orbital's engineering and product development capabilities. The small unmanned aerial systems market is an emerging market for Orbital and we look forward to realizing this potential."
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