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.