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Icon Aerospace claims an in-flight refuelling breakthrough

05 November 2012

A supplier of refuelling hoses to airforces around the world, Icon Aerospace has developed a key enabling technology to create the first ‘Intelligent Connector' (IC) for  in-flight refuelling.

The basket locator option

The 'IconIC' hose system accommodates power with telemetry cables and fibre-optics for data transfer, providing a range of key control and communication functions between a tanker and receiver aircraft while the receiver aircraft undergoes mid-air refuelling.

The new technology will enable precise, remote positional control of the refuelling hose, while the integration of data transfer capability allows for diagnostics, reprogramming and a host of other functions.

Connecting collar and loom termination collar

At the end of the hose is an embedded termination collar which connects into a ‘clamshell’ user defined interface - switchable in flight - into which a variety of functions can be integrated depending on user requirements.

Calvin Tan, chief technology officer of Icon Aerospace, says IconIC opens up a whole array of possibilities for functions such as drogue location and hose positioning as well as computer diagnostics and on-board reprogramming. 

A rendering of the complete assembly

"The integration of power supply and data transfer capability heralds a new era in hose technology which, while developed for advanced flight systems, has applications across many markets including wind power generation, oil and gas and ship-to-aircraft,” he says.

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