Orbital UAV Opens Operational Facility in USA

Published: 28 Sep 2018

Insitu drone with Orbital UAV engine

Orbital Corporation Ltd has announced the official opening of its purpose-built operational facility in Hood River, Oregon, USA. This milestone marks the next step in the company’s UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)-focused strategy, providing a base in the heart of the growing U.S. tactical UAV market.

The U.S. site offers a second facility from which Orbital UAV will focus on the development, build and overhaul of UAV propulsion systems, extending the company’s existing global supply and service capabilities.

“The delivery of the Hood River facility has been a strategic imperative for the growth of our business,” said Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV. “Not only will it provide Orbital UAV with an operational base that will better support our key North American customers from a logistical perspective, it also provides the additional capacity to meet increased engine volumes and service demands. The state of the art production environment replicates the technology and engineering expertise of our established facility in Perth, Western Australia. It draws upon more than 30 years of engine production experience and know how, and continues to build Orbital UAV’s position as a leader in the design and manufacture of precision UAV propulsion systems.”

The new facility provides extended capabilities in:

1. UAV propulsion system builds and overhauls:

  • Propulsion system and sub-system assembly;
  • Propulsion system testing in dedicated engine run-cells;
  • Sub-system testing, including pressure and flow testing;
  • Detailed inspection and metrology of components.

2. UAV engine development:

  • Development of UAV components, systems and engines;
  • Engine development and validation testing on both propellers and dynamometers;
  • Altitude engine testing simulating conditions associated with flying high altitudes up to 20,000ft;
  • Environmental testing, including running engines at temperatures from -22degF to +140degF.

Orbital UAV will be the primary and exclusive tenant of the facility, and has a five year lease with an option to extend for two further terms of five years each. The facility is approximately 1,210m2 (~13,000sq.ft.), with 930m2 (~10,000sq.ft) available for production and engine testing, and approximately 280m2 (~3,000sq.ft) of office space.

Working closely with the construction team, Orbital UAV has ensured the facility will provide the necessary infrastructure and physical environment to meet the rigorous testing and precision production demands of the rapidly evolving UAV market. With key customer Insitu Inc. located less than seven miles (11kms) from Orbital UAV’s new facility, the strategic benefits are significant.

“When we signed a long term supply agreement with Insitu back in December 2016, we made a commitment to identify a base in the United States that would ultimately support all of Insitu’s production and servicing requirements,” said Mr Alder. “Since that time we have further strengthened our relationship with Insitu and look forward to working even more closely with them, as we continue to develop our product range and service offering across our global footprint.”

“This facility has been delivered thanks to Orbital UAV’s talented teams in the U.S. and Australia. We can now build on this fantastic achievement and continue to help shape the UAV industry,” Alder added.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passions for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years.

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