Air Force Inquires About New Thermal Management Solutions for Future Aircraft

The U.S. Air Force is looking into new thermal management techniques to cool the electronics in future fighter aircraft.

“Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, issued a broad agency announcement Friday (BAA-AFRL-RQKP-2015-0002) for the Hybrid-Cycle Power and Thermal Management System (PTMS) project,” according to Military & Aerospace Electronics.

“The Air Force Research Lab’s Power and Control Division, Mechanical & Thermal Systems Branch are asking industry for electronics cooling ways to blend air-cycle cooling, vapor-cycle cooling, chilled fuel, and other thermal energy storage mechanisms to keep electronics cool on future jet fighters,” according to researchers.

Future aircrafts will require advanced capabilities, such as high-powered lasers, low-observability and electronic attack, to operate in harsh environments. These new systems will require 10 times more power than the fighter aircraft in the industry today.

With the large increase in power required, thermal management becomes an even bigger challenge. The air force is looking into conventional air cycle systems and vapor cycle systems to produce thermal management solutions and better cool electronics on board fighter aircraft. Researchers also plan to use heat sinks to help cool the aircraft’s electronics.

There is a possibility that this project could be worth $24 million dollars and involve up to six companies by 2019.

Original Source


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