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Status of the United States Air Force's More Electric Aircraft initiative

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1 Author(s)
Cloyd, J.S. ; USAF Wright Lab., Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, USA

Since the early 1990's, the USAF has been successfully pursuing advancement in aircraft electrical power system technologies as a means of collectively establishing the capability to reduce dramatically or eliminate centralized hydraulics aboard aircraft and replace them with electrical power as the motive force for all aircraft functions. This overall approach (called the More Electric Aircraft, MEA) has been analytically determined to provide dramatic improvements in reliability, maintainability, supportability and operations/support cost as well as enhancements in aircraft weight, volume, and battle-damage reconfigurability. A time- and technology availability-phased research and development program has been structured to demonstrate the required electrical component and subsystems performance to allow equivalent or improved aircraft performance over the use of hydraulic power. This paper provides: (1) a brief historical treatment of technology milestones achieved which enabled the MEA approach; (2) a status of USAF and DoD research and development programs in electrical power generation, distribution, energy storage, systems integration and flight testing; (3) a description of some of the USAF's planned demonstration activities in aircraft electrical power subsystems; and (4) the dual use nature of many of these technologies enabling a variety of electric and hybrid electrically-propelled military weapon systems and commercial vehicles

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )