These Bricks Can Fly
To help the U.S. military remain the strongest in the world, Lockheed Martin is constantly improving the tools used by warfighters. A recent focus has been answering the call to help next generation and legacy fighter aircraft communicate during air campaigns – and the potential solution taps into the power conversion expertise within Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS).
During a series of flight tests at Nellis Air Force Base, a Lockheed Martin-led industry and government team demonstrated a new datalink capability to show how an open architecture system can be used to share information in real time between F-22 and F-35 aircraft. The demonstration wrapped up a year-long, independently funded research and development program called Project Missouri.
To support the program, Lockheed Martin RMS provided three of its DC (direct current)-to-DC converters – referred to as bricks – to power the open systems architecture components on board the F-22 aircraft. The bricks converted power from the aircraft’s high-voltage distribution level to a lower voltage, so that the aircraft’s systems receive the right voltage level to work properly.
Project Missouri was the first in-flight use of the Lockheed Martin RMS converters, and the bricks helped meet the size, weight, power and cost requirements for the new solution.
In addition to their use within defense systems, the bricks are approved for sale as commodity items by the Department of Commerce. This means they can be used by commercial and civil customers without International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) restrictions.
The DC to DC power converter developed by RMS is the size of a Blackberry or iPhone.
“These DC to DC power converters are ideally suited for an environment that needs high density power conversion to support low noise sensor, digital processing or motor drive applications where size, weight and power is at a premium,” said Brad Atwater, technical director, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.
“From aircraft to renewable energy applications, there are many applications where this technology will improve products and solutions,” said Dan Wawrzyniak, program manager, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.
Lockheed Martin’s expertise in power design dates back to the 1980s when it began creating subassemblies, power supply systems and power conversion modules for use in radar applications. The company is continually investing in research to push the technology to new levels.