VALDOSTA, Ga., 19 Dec. 2005. Saft has been selected by the Electrical Power Systems Division, Naval Air (NAVAIR) Systems Command, Air 4.4.4 to develop leading edge, lithium ion (Li-ion) cells and batteries for use in the Joint Unmanned Combat Aerial System (J-UCAS).
The first phase of the contract is valued at $1.6 million (basic contract value = $3.8 million). The Aviation Group at the Saft America facility in Valdosta, Ga. will carry out this project.
The J-UCAS program is a joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Air Force-Navy effort to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of a networked system of high performance, weaponized unmanned air vehicles to effectively and affordably prosecute 21st century combat missions, including suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD); electronic attack (EA); precision strike; surveillance/reconnaissance; and persistent global attack within the emerging global command and control architecture. The operational focus of this system is on those combat situations and environments that involve deep, denied enemy territory and the requirement for a survivable, persisting combat presence.
Saft will develop a cell and battery specifically optimized for the J-UCAS application that is smaller in size and lighter than current Li-ion technology, and that has improved self-discharge characteristics and improved low temperature performance. The cell will be of a wound prismatic construction to optimize volume and maintain the superior quality and reliability of wound or spiral electrode construction. The optimized battery will include a composite case and cover for lighter weight and higher durability.
"Saft is excited and pleased to have been selected to develop and provide Li-ion batteries to the premier J-UCAS system. Saft looks forward to the challenges of expanding the limits of Li-ion performance for a leading edge, advanced-technology military aircraft," said Gary McMillan, Saft contract and program manager.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high traditional military roles and missions.
The J-UCAS Common Operating System will allow unmanned aircraft systems to intra-operate with each other and with the Global Information Grid. The J-UCAS system-of-systems concept plans to demonstrate the military utility and the operational value of airpower in the and where success may provide dramatic advances for 21st century combat environment. For more information, see www.darpa.mil/j-ucas.
"This contract from NAVAIR will result in a next-generation system that stretches the technology to new limits suitable for application on J-UCAS and other aircraft," said Khushrow Press, CEO of Saft America. "This project, coupled with the recent contract wins for Li-ion batteries used to power the Global Hawk RQ-4B and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, positions Saft as the leader in lithium ion batteries for military aviation."
Saft is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry. Saft batteries are used in high performance applications such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defense. Saft is the world's leading manufacturer of nickel-cadmium batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets. The group is also the European leader for specialized advanced technologies for the defense and space industries. With approximately 4,000 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 17 countries. Its 16 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide. For more information, see www.saftbatteries.com.