Northrop, Pratt, and Lockheed to develop next-generation power and thermal for combat aircraft

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Military aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. and Pratt & Whitney are joining Lockheed Martin Corp. in a project to design next-generation aircraft power-control and thermal-management systems to enable future military planes to accommodate new technologies like laser weapons, powerful electronic warfare (EW), and low-observability.

Northrop, Pratt, and Lockheed to develop next-generation power and thermal for combat aircraft
Northrop, Pratt, and Lockheed to develop next-generation power and thermal for combat aircraft
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Military aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. and Pratt & Whitney are joining Lockheed Martin Corp. in a project to design next-generation aircraftpower-control and thermal-management systems to enable future military planes to accommodate new technologies like laser weapons, powerful electronic warfare (EW), and low-observability.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced seven-year contracts Tuesday to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif., and to the United Technologies Corp. Pratt & Whitney Division in East Hartford, Conn., for the Next Generation Thermal, Power, and Controls (NGT-PAC) program.

Engineers from Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin will share as much as $409 million in carrying out research to prove the technological feasibility of new kinds of thermal, power, and controls components and architectures using existing airframe and engine designs as test beds.

Lockheed Martin won a contract to participate in the NGT-PAC program on 30 June.

Next-generation fighter aircraft will require an unprecedented level of advanced capabilities for air superiority in contested environments, Air Force researchers say. These capabilities will include advanced electronic attack, high-power laser, and future low-observability features.

Related: Air Force wants new electronics thermal management techniques for fighter aircraft

These advanced technologies are expected to require as much as 10 times the power levels than current tactical systems, Air Force experts say.

These power system demands present electrical and thermal challenges aboard aircraft -- especially in the presence of composite aircraft skins, high-efficiency engines, and embedded vehicle systems. Lockheed Martin experts will try to better understand the challenges and opportunities of, and advance the state of the art in, next-generation aircraft thermal, power, and controls.

Experts from the three companies will focus on two areas: aircraft engines and airframes to develop revolutionary aircraft power, thermal, and controls technologies.

On these contracts Northrop Grumman will do the work in Redondo Beach, Calif.; Pratt & Whitney will do the work in East Hartford, Conn., and Lockheed Martin will do the work in Fort Worth, Texas. All three companies should be finished by July 2024.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com. United Technologies Pratt & Whitney at www.pw.utc.com, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/aeronautics.html, or the Air Force Research Laboratory at www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl.

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