Materion Lands Contract to Supply Aluminium Composite for Sensor Housing on RQ-4B Drone

Suburban Cleveland advanced materials manufacturer Materion Corporation announced last Thursday that it has been chosen by Charlotte, North Carolina aerospace and defense firm UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) to provide specialty aluminium for the production of a long-range sensor intended for use on the U.S. Air Force’s Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

Per the press release, Materion will be providing UTAS a proprietary aluminum-beryllium composite called AlBeMet for use in housing for the MS-177 long-range, multi-spectral imaging (MSI) sensor. Although details are scarce, the sensor, which is being tested for inclusion on the RQ-4B at present, is said to offer its users better long-range capabilities than technologies currently in use. Materion and UTAS both hope for the sensor’s inclusion on the RQ-4B drone, which is built to obtain high-resolution images of wide swaths of sea and/or land at any hour of the day or night.

W. Glenn Maxwell, President, Materion Performance Alloys and Composites, described the development as confirmation of his firm’s high-performance, low-cost composites.

“We work to stay ahead of advancing technologies, and we’re proud of our work with UTC Aerospace Systems which allows us to develop cost-effective advanced material components used on this cutting-edge sensor technology for the U.S. military. Our advanced materials solutions enable our customers to maximize performance on high-end imaging systems.”

The firm says AlBeMet’s high modulus, low density, and favorable strength-to-weight ratio, lends itself to a myriad of optical, structural, and electronic housing roles in aircraft, satellite and commercial applications.

Headquartered in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, Materion and its subsidiaries furnish a wide variety of highly-engineered advanced enabling materials such as high performance alloys, beryllium products, clad metal strip, composite metals, ceramics, inorganic chemicals, microelectronics packaging materials, precision optics, thin film coatings, and thin film deposition materials to clients around the globe.



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