R. E. Darling Co., Inc. - Composite Manufacturing Company
R. E. Darling Co., Inc.
Call Us: 520-887-2400

Company History


Our Origins

R. E. Darling Co. (REDAR) began operations in 1948 in the Washington D.C. area fabricating aviator’s breathing oxygen tubes.  With the rapid advance of military aircraft performance capabilities in the early 1950’s, REDAR pioneered the development and manufacture of a new series of breathing oxygen hose incorporating new synthetic materials and many innovations in connector and cabling design.  REDAR perfected the first aviator’s quick disconnect assembly, combining oxygen hose and communication wires into one composite connector.  Installed in aircraft equipped with early operational ejection seat designs, this patented innovation simultaneously released all connections between the pilot and his cockpit at the moment of emergency escape.  REDAR also developed the first small-bore flexible hose compatible with high-pressure oxygen breathing systems and pressure suits, and introduced silicone rubber in oxygen hoses to insure against ozone attack and high temperature degradation.  The company perfected a family of hoses with integrated wiring for radio communications and helmet face plate heat wires, and developed reinforced tubing, seals and cables for high altitude full pressure suits.

By 1960, REDAR consisted of two divisions: TheAeronautical Systems Division in Gaithersburg, MD and the Aerospace Systems Division in Tucson. AZ. The Aeronautical Systems Division placed major emphasis on the development and manufacture of highly reliable life support system components for both military and commercial aircraft. This division developed a wide variety of products to include: large diameter flexible ventilating duct for aircraft, shipboard, ground support equipment, reactor and electronic cooling applications; silicone membranes for spacecraft oxygen recovery systems, molded and extruded synthetic rubber components for the ASW missile, aircraft, and commercial applications; pressure suit penetrations for bioastronautics instrumentation leads, medical silicone products, miniature disconnects for pneumatic systems, and high temperature insulating materials.

The Aerospace Systems Division is the primary production facility for high altitude breathing,
ventilation, and communications/wire hoses. The Aerospace Systems Division is also where the research and development operations are located and where the company accelerated the development of new aerospace elastomers, ozone resistant rubber blends, inflatable components, insulating and ablating materials.

The Space Race
Preparatory to the first step beyond the limits of our atmosphere, R. E. Darling Co. designed and developed the oxygen hose for the first astro-balloon ascensions. Our life support hose and ducting were aboard the first Mercury flight into space. We made the first “lifeline in space” for America’s historic space walks. That equipment, including all our important lifelines, has been on display at the Smithsonian Institution since 1982. As America’s space program crossed new frontiers, so did R. E. Darling Co. We provided much of the exclusive life support equipment for the Gemini and Apollo programs, and for use in the Lunar Excursion Module and Lunar backpacks. R.E. Darling Co. also built the breathing apparatus for the Skylab ergometer which was used for collecting breath samples in space along with providing breathing hoses used in all of the Space Shuttle flights.
Today’s R. E. Darling Co.
During the past four decades, R. E. Darling Co. has expanded its capabilities to include the development and manufacture of precision molded rubber goods; chemical warfare resistant hose and related products; hardware items for space, military, and medical programs; fabrication of undersea products; and reinforced composite and ablative components.  Our expanded capabilities also include custom compounding and rubber mixing and testing.  Our rubber testing laboratory conducts a wide variety of ASTM testing including ozone resistance, fuel and heat aging, cold temperature, T.E.D., and rheometric analysis.  REDAR chemists and engineers developed sulfur free butyl compounds for use as acoustic windows in Naval applications; a graphite filled thermoset butadiene elastomer used in friction plates and bearings; a natural rubber compound resistant to slurry abrasion in the mining industry; and aramid fiber filled EPDM compound used as insulation in solid rocket motor cases.  The company also maintains an A.S.N.T. level III capability in radiography, and ultrasonic inspection.  In 1997, we introduced our patented DARPRO Edge Strip System used on cathode blanks in the electro-winning and electro-refining of copper production.

For more than 60 years, …and three generations of family leadership. R. E. Darling Co., has been there to solve the most demanding customer needs. Please give us a chance at your business and we won’t disappoint you!