Air Force asks industry for 270-volt DC power converters for use in F-35 depot maintenance

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, 5 Feb. 2013. U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance specialists are reaching out to industry to acquire four 270-volt DC power converters that will supply the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter with electrical power while the aircraft is undergoing depot-level maintenance.

The Air Force Materiel Command at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has issued a solicitation (FA224-13-R-0027) for four power converters that will supply the F-35 with the external DC 270-volt power and 28-volt DC (Interlock) power it requires to perform depot maintenance.

Most equipment on the F-35 is electric and electrically controlled, Air Force officials explain. The aircraft is equipped with an electrical power system (EPS) that provides generation, distribution, load management, and protection of the aircraft's 270-volt DC, 28-volt DC, and 115-volt AC power electronics.

The EPS is critical for the operation and maintenance of the aircraft, Air Force officials point out. The F-35's primary power is 270 volts DC, generated during normal operation by an engine-driven starter and generator.

Related stories

-- F-35 completes airborne weapons separation test

-- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter leverages COTS for avionics systems

-- Lockheed Martin F-35 weapons load training system delivered to Eglin Air Force Base.

During depot maintenance, however, technicians must connect external 270-volt DC power manually to the aircraft. The aircraft EPS monitors and controls this power input, and the EPS must be running for the external 270-volt DC power to be connected to the aircraft. This requires a 28-volt DC aircraft power source.

Air Force officials say they want the external power sources to be installed in buildings 222 and 237 at Hill Air Force Base. The external converters will take the existing 480-volt AC power in the buildings and convert it to the necessary 270 and 28 volts DC.

The company chosen to provide the four external power units also must perform initial startup of the equipment and ensure the converters operate as intended. The converters must have a proven record of actual use on existing F-35 aircraft, and must meet MIL-STD-704F, NFPA 70 Article 500.

Companies interested must send offers no later than 8 March 2013. For questions or concerns contact the Air Force's Scott Anderson by phone at 801-586-5775, or by e-mail at

More information is online at

To access this Article, go to: