Air Force chooses power converters from Power Conversion Technologies for F-35 maintenance

Posted by John Keller

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, 31 May 2013. U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance specialists needed 270-volt DC power converters to supply the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter with electrical power while the aircraft is undergoing depot-level maintenance. They found their solution from Power Conversion Technologies Inc. in Harmony, Pa.

The Air Force Materiel Command at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has awarded a $171,504 contract to power electronics provider Power Conversion Technologies for four 270-volt DC power converters.

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.

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 will install the four 270-volt DC power converters from Power Conversion Technologies 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.

Experts from Power Conversion Technologies not only will provide the four 270-volt DC power converters, but also will perform initial startup of the equipment and ensure the converters operate as intended.

The converters from Power Conversion Technologies have a proven record of actual use on existing F-35 aircraft, and meet MIL-STD-704F, NFPA 70 Article 500, Air Force officials say.

For more information contact Power Conversion Technologies online at www.pcti.com, or the Air Force Materiel Command at Hill Air Force Base at www.hill.af.mil/units.

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