Global Hawk’s New Optical Sensor to Use AlBeMet Metal Matrix Composites


Materion Corporation (NYSE:MTRN) has been awarded a contract by UTC Aerospace Systems for AlBeMet metal matrix composite parts for its MS-177 long-range, multi-spectral imaging (MSI) sensor. The sensor is currently undergoing integration testing and qualification for the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). AlBeMet is an aluminum beryllium composite, which combines the high modulus and low-density characteristics of beryllium with the fabrication and mechanical property behaviors of aluminum.

This material offers significant performance advantages in certain applications when compared to steel, aluminum, and common aluminum metal matrix composites. Its properties allow for greater design flexibility and specific stiffness, for applications in aviation electronics, inspection equipment for semiconductor assembly, and optical and satellite structures. In such applications, AlBeMet improves line-of-sight distance and reduces jitter in optical structures. Its properties allow designers to reduce system size, minimize stress from vibrations and increase the fatigue life of electronic packages while improving performance.