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Gloucestershire Business News

Wheels on fire: Safran gets on board the Eurodrone

Key Gloucester employer Safran Landing Systems (SLS) has signed a long-term contract with Airbus Defence and Space to provide the wheels and brakes system work package for a strategic European drone project.

The Eurodrone is Europe's new MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) reconnaissance drone and SLS was selected to design, develop, qualify and produce the work package including wheels, brakes and hydro-mechanical equipment.

The aero specialists will also supply the braking control module, to be developed by Paris-Based Safran Electronics and Defense, the company's partner on the programme. The contract comprises 60 units.

François Bastin, SLS ceo said: "We are proud to work on this programme with Airbus Defence and Space. It's an opportunity to demonstrate both our know-how and ability to develop the technologies that will equip this unprecedented new military system.

"We are looking forward to meeting a number of technical challenges on this programme, especially weight reduction and delivering the best possible value proposition to our customer."

The Eurodrone programme is designed to supply France, Germany, Spain and Italy with a highly autonomous medium-altitude reconnaissance drone, thus bolstering the European Union's operational and industrial sovereignty.

Production of the first prototype should start in 2024 with a first delivery planned by the end of the decade.

The jet-engine maker and aerospace supplier Safran posted a 29.9 per cent rise in third-quarter revenues in October last year. Safran, which has a facility in Churchdown, co-produces engines for the Boeing 737 with General Electric.

The Gloucester OE site has been at the forefront of landing gear technology for over 85 years, dating from the innovative designs of Sir George Dowty to advanced landing gears for the world's most modern aircraft today. The site, on Cheltenham Road East, has full life-cycle capability from concept to in-service support.

This includes research & development, engineering design, systems integration, test, production, processing (heat treatment, surface finishing, etc), assembly and commercial and product support.

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