The United Kingdom’s 24 upgraded Royal Air Force (RAF) Pumas are to receive new self-sealing fuel tanks, thanks to a contract between Eurocopter, the OEM delivering the upgraded helicopters, and GKN Aerospace. It has already delivered some of the new tanks to RAF for integration and testing.
The company will provide fuel tanks for the Puma Mk2s as part of the Puma Life Extension Program (LEP). GKN manufactures self-sealing fuel cells to withstand damage by small arms of between 7.62mm and 20mm in caliber. While most tanks are supplied during the design of a platform, GKN can also retrofit or provide external fuel tanks, as is the case here.
Richard Grove, GKN Aerospace’s general manager, points to the commonality in fuel tanks that already exists across aircraft within the UK military rotorcraft fleet. His company already supplies self-sealing tanks for the UK’s AW101 Merlins and AW159 Wildcat helicopters.