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

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Military aircraft engine designers at General Electric Co. (GE) are joining a major U.S. Air Force 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.

Jul 20th, 2017
GE, Northrop, Pratt, and Lockheed to develop next-generation power and thermal for combat aircraft
GE, Northrop, Pratt, and Lockheed to develop next-generation power and thermal for combat aircraft
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Military aircraft engine designers at General Electric Co. (GE) are joining a major U.S. Air Force 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.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a seven-year contract to the GE Aviation segment in Cincinnati Wednesday for the Next Generation Thermal, Power, and Controls (NGT-PAC) program.

GE joins the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif.; the United Technologies Corp. Pratt & Whitney Division in East Hartford, Conn., and the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics segment in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Next Generation Thermal, Power, and Controls (NGT-PAC) program.

Engineers from the four companies 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.

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: GE Aviation developing avionics thermal management for future manned and unmanned 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 four companies will focus on two areas: aircraft engines and airframes to develop revolutionary aircraft power, thermal, and controls technologies.

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

For more information contact GE Aviation online at www.geaviation.com; Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems 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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