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Collins Develops Electric Generator for Future US Manned and Unmanned Aerial Platforms

Collins Aerospace is developing a 1-megawatt electric generator to power future US Air Force manned and unmanned military platforms.

The project is part of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)’s Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability program seeking an efficient and safe power source with multiple applications.

AFRL’s 1-Megawatt Generator

According to Raytheon, of which Collins is a subsidiary, the generator is expected to support advanced avionics, mission systems, and next-generation military capabilities that “require more onboard electric power than ever before.”

The hardware is deployable with a fuel-burning engine under a hybrid-electric propulsion architecture to increase fuel efficiency, lessen aerial refueling, maximize aircraft range, and decrease carbon emissions.

Collins will deliver the generator to the AFRL and complete associated tests to Technology Readiness Level 5 by 2024.

Collins Aerospace is developing a 1 megawatt electric generator for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
Collins Aerospace is developing a 1-megawatt electric generator for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo: Raytheon Technologies

Work for the project will be performed at The Grid, Raytheon’s advanced electric power systems laboratory opening later this year in Rockford, Illinois.

Another Raytheon subsidiary, Pratt & Whitney, will study the electric generator’s future engine integration opportunities throughout the project’s duration.

Supporting Other Programs 

Meanwhile, Raytheon will leverage developments under the AFRL generator program to support the maturation of megawatt-class motors for current efforts with Pratt & Whitney Canada’s hybrid-electric flight demonstrator program and the EU’s SWITCH clean aviation initiative.

“While future military aircraft continue to take shape, one thing we know is that these platforms will require electric power in the megawatt range,” Collins Aerospace Power & Controls President Henry Brooks stated.

“To that end, we’re working with the AFRL to design a generator that will give our customers the onboard power they need and the flexibility to tailor its use for multiple potential applications.”

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