Rare metal supplier delivers UAS components to U.S. DOD

By Luke Geiver | September 18, 2014

A rare metal more stiff than steel that also features excellent thermal conductivity is now enhancing unmanned aerial vehicles. IBC Advanced Alloys Corp., a British Columbia-based manufacturer and distributor of rare metal-based products, has announced the delivery of several UAV articles to the U.S. Department of Defense. Wyle, a global provider of high-tech aerospace engineering services, worked with IBC on behalf of the DOD’s Reliability Information Analysis Center (RIAC) to bring the rare metal infused UAV products to reality. The RIAC will test IBC’s products.

The products feature IBC’s trademarked Beraclast materials. The materials use Beryllium, a rare metal that is stiffer than steel but weighs the same as steel. In comparison to aluminum, beryllium is 300 percent stiffer and 22 percent lighter. The metal can be used as a standalone material or with copper or aluminum to increase hardness, reduce weight or improve thermal conductivity, according to IBC.

“We are pleased to have delivered these Beraclast parts,” said Ray White, IBC president. “IBC’s strong materials and aerospace capabilities are ideally suited to UAS applications and can significantly increase subsystem performance and service life, including loiter time and flight range due to reduced payload weight. With our diverse aerospace experience,” White added, “IBC is able to manage multiple commercial UAS production programs alongside our existing aerospace initiatives.

As part of its work with the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, IBC is working to use Beraclast alloys for UAV weight reduction, greater sensor effectiveness and component stiffness.

Part of IBC’s interest in the UAS industry stems from a report IBC sited in its announcement of its Beraclast UAV component delivery. IBC sited a 2014 Teal Group market study that predicted UAS spending would double during the next decade from $5.9 billion annually to $11.3 billion. According to the report, the U.S. will account for 77 percent of the research and development activity and 69 percent of the procurement spending in that timeframe.