Redditch, UK -- GKN Aerospace has gained a £2-million ($3-million), five-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence for its latest Mark 5 Air-Portable Fuel Containers (APFCs). These are now made of PU-coated nylon instead of rubber, cutting weight and manufacturing costs, GKN said, in a company announcement.
APFCs are used by the military to transport fuel to inaccessible points such as forward airstrips, helicopter landing zones and forward operational areas. GKN said the new PU tanks are in the process of being delivered and these items are now in service in Afghanistan.
These latest fuel containers are 25 percent lower in weight and 30 percent lower in cost than previous generations. This is the result of introduction of an innovative manufacturing process, developed by GKN Aerospace, which sprays a polyurethane coating compound onto nylon wire. "This new process is much faster, lower cost and is virtually VOC (volatile organic compound) free, and so is far more environmentally friendly, than the established slow and solvent-heavy, rubber-based production which it replaced.
According to GKN Aerospace, these APFCs are the toughest available on the market. They are extremely rugged: able to function effectively at temperatures as low as minus 26 deg C and as high as plus 71 deg C - and will survive down to minus 46 deg C. The containers are droppable by para, towable for ten miles and aerodynamically designed to offer optimum flight conditions when carried by sling under a helicopter. They are also qualified for use in cargo aircraft such as the A400M and C-130.
"In modern operations, the availability of fuel to vital forward activities extends the period of operation of helicopters, aircraft and ground units. It also ensures there is power, heat and communications for military personnel in the field. Our new containers will extend the distance it is possible to transport fuel to reach these points, at a reduced cost to our customer," said Phil Swash, ceo, GKN Aerospace, Europe and Special Products, in the statement.