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Motorsport-inspired technology harnessed in jet development

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BAE Systems and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have joined forces to explore how battery management and cooling technologies from the motorsport industry can be used to improve efficiency and performance of combat aircraft.

Next-generation combat air technologies will need high-power at low weight in order to provide long range endurance and mission success. Future systems will also need to generate enough energy to power a small town, which can be managed safely and efficiently throughout the aircraft and its subsystems, with pilots depending on high-performance ‘power when you need it’ air capability.

WAE is renowned for its battery technologies that provide durable, fast-charging power capability, and was recently appointed as the Gen3 exclusive battery system supplier of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Combined with technical expertise from Rolls Royce in the development of power and thermal management systems and BAE Systems’s experience in integrating complex systems, this collaboration is an example of how the UK uses industry skills and knowledge cross-pollination.

“Changing how we engage with wider industry and leveraging the best technologies and processes from across the global supply chain is essential in order to deliver value to the UK,” said Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technology Officer for BAE Systems’ Air sector. “This collaboration is a great example of how we’re starting to achieve this – finding synergies, great engineering minds and mutually-beneficial technology projects.”

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