16 Dec 20. Cobham Mission Systems’ Aerial Refueling Buddy Store Mounted Underwing During Boeing’s Unmanned MQ-25 Test Flight.
Cobham Mission Systems, the world leader in air-to-air refueling solutions, proudly confirms its underwing mounted refueling buddy store was carried for the first time during a successful test flight of Boeing’s MQ-25 test asset, known as T1. The test helped to validate the unmanned aircraft’s aerodynamics when carrying existing refueling equipment. The flight marks a significant milestone in the development of MQ-25, the first operational, carrier-based unmanned aerial refueler for the U.S. Navy. The Navy’s F/A-18 fleet currently operates the same Cobham 31-301 buddy store, when fulfilling this key aerial refueling role.
“This marks a significant milestone for the development of unmanned aerial refueling and we are proud that Boeing’s MQ-25 test aircraft carried Cobham’s underwing mounted equipment on this test flight,” said Jason Apelquist, SVP business development and strategy for Cobham Mission Systems. “It is encouraging to see how proven solutions are being leveraged to further new mission capability. We look forward to supporting next-generation technology and continue to work with our customers as a key partner to deliver the aerial refueling solution of the future.”
The 2.5-hour flight was conducted by Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, IL, on December 9, 2020. Future flights will continue to test the aerodynamics of the aircraft and the 31-301 Series Buddy Store at various points of the flight envelope. Insights from the tests will inform the eventual progression to the extension and retraction of the hose and drogue used in refueling.
Cobham Mission Systems provides the most trusted solutions in aerospace globally today, ranging from cutting edge, reliable air-to-air refueling solutions that include modern tanker hose and drogue equipment, to modern and fully digital electric systems, as well as advanced life support solutions. Now delivering fifth-generation hose and drogue designs, Cobham Mission Systems provides a comprehensive portfolio of air-to-air refueling products that include wing pods, fuselage refueling units, buddy-buddy refueling and a range of refueling probes. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
15 Dec 20. LiquidPiston Announces Small Tactical Power Generator Development for U.S. Army. The U.S. Army awards LiquidPiston a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to further mature the X Engine platform for ground power generators, following the successful delivery of LiquidPiston’s Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) to the U.S. Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems.
LiquidPiston, Inc., developer of advanced rotary diesel and multi fuel internal combustion engines, today announced the award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the United States Army to develop the X-Engine platform to power Small Tactical Generators ranging from 2-5kW. This contract comes on the heels of the company delivering a prototype Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) for field-testing to the U.S. Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems. The company was also recently named a runner up in the Army xTechSearch Innovation Combine, a competition sponsored by the Army Future’s Command to find innovative solutions to scalable power and energy solutions.
“We are excited to be showcasing our X-Engine’s capabilities and benefits in small tactical power generators after recently showcasing the technology’s effectiveness in Unmanned Aerial System propulsion applications,” said Alec Shkolnik, CEO and co-founder of LiquidPiston. “It’s a game changer. The Small Tactical Power Generators will be just one fifth the size and weight of today’s currently fielded generators, and can increase fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent thanks to our patented thermodynamic cycle, while being optimized to run on heavy fuel including JP8. The scalable nature of the X-Engine will enable LiquidPiston to grow and tailor our ground power platform to meet the changing needs of the U.S. Army as well as commercial partners.”
Our nation’s military power and energy demands are increasing exponentially, yet currently fielded generators operate on old technology, making them extremely big and heavy, as well as not as fuel efficient as they could be. The Small Tactical Power Generators operate on easily sourced military fuels, like jet fuel, JP8, or diesel. The system’s advanced power management and controls enable optimal X Engine run-time and battery charging, resulting in longer life and increased fuel efficiency for longer military missions. See the table below for a direct comparison with currently fielded generators in size and weight.
The U.S. Army needs a modular system that is ultraportable and reduces the logistical footprint of its power source. LiquidPiston’s Small Tactical Power Generators provide more than an 80% reduction in weight and an almost 70% reduction in size when compared to the generators currently in use. The smart electronics that enable hybrid electric configurations is an added plus of LiquidPiston’s generators. These generators deliver on the need for hybrid features that allow generators to run at optimal efficiency points, and offer silent operation periods, drawing electric power from the battery.
The need for small, lightweight, efficient power is important to increase mobility of US Army systems. Research in engine technologies, can potentially transition into more mobile power systems in the future. The Small Tactical Power Generator platform can be used by the Army for a broad array of war fighter needs from camp support to communications systems to computerized weaponry.
For example, CAPS, the 2kW diesel prototype genset LiquidPiston delivered to the Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems, is being tested to power the M777 Howitzer’s Digital Fire Control System to address the Army’s need to extend mission duration and effectiveness by increasing logistics capacity for ammunition and other critical supplies by reducing fuel consumption and the volume and weight currently taken up by larger, heavier generators. This generator can also eliminate the need for idling trucks and other vehicles as a makeshift generator when running idle, which causes a massive waste of fuel and excessive noise that could give away a soldiers’ position. The CAPS system, when combined with a 6T Li-ion battery, provides up to 5 hours of silent operation for each hour of generator operation.
Christopher Hatch, the Deputy Program Manager, U.S. Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems, stated, “Initial testing of the CAPS generator with the M777 Howitzer to power the Digital Fire Control System was successful. The hybrid electric option will be increasingly important as military equipment, both tactical and non-tactical, continue to be electrified and computerized, and there is a growing need for compact, efficient, and high-quality DC as well as AC electric power generation. At just 1.5 cubic feet, and 41lbs, and demonstrated capability to run and operate on Jet A / JP fuel with rapid starting capability, the CAPS system offers a substantial increase in capability to the Army.”
About LiquidPiston, Inc.
LiquidPiston, Inc. develops compact, quiet, fuel-efficient, low-vibration, multi-fuel capable combustion engines that are scalable from one horsepower to over 1,000. The company’s patented High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC), an improved thermodynamic cycle, and engine architecture enable the company to create engines optimized for fuel efficiency. LiquidPiston’s engines have only two primary moving parts – a shaft and rotor – resulting in compact size and low-vibration operation. Although they are rotary engines, LiquidPiston’s engines are not Wankel engines; they are uniquely configured to adopt the company’s patented thermodynamic cycle and its associated efficiency and low-noise benefits. To learn more, visit www.liquidpiston.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)