Feeds

Rolls-Royce to work on electric cyber raygun aero-tech

USAF to jazz up jet juice use

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

An American high-tech jet engine design bureau, owned by UK-centred firm Rolls-Royce, will design key power systems necessary for the electricity-heavy combat aircraft of tomorrow. Future fighters and bombers are expected to use huge amounts of electricity to power such things as directed-energy rayguns and/or cyberwarfare electropulse systems.

Flight International reports today that Rolls-Royce's North American Technologies unit - aka LibertyWorks - has won a $690k contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory under the Integrated Vehicle Energy Technology (INVENT) programme. The Indianapolis-based LibertyWorks development shop was formerly the Allison Advanced Development Company, but has changed names following the acquisition of Allison by Rolls in the 1990s.

Under INVENT, the US air force is seeking various subsystem techologies which will make future aircraft far more electric in nature than they have been so far. In particular, ways are sought to generate much larger amounts of electricity from jet-engine prime movers. The USAF also wants to see better-performing electrical actuator systems, allowing planes to use electricity rather than hydraulics for working control surfaces, undercarriages and so on.

A primary driver for the electric-jet tech is the rising power requirements of modern sensor and communication systems, and the expectation that this will increase still further in future. Next-gen US combat planes are thought likely to feature high-powered radars and jammers able to reach out electronically and meddle cunningly with enemy defences - so called "cyber weapons".

Early versions of such capabilities are said to be present already, in the new generation of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars seen on such aircraft as the F-22 Raptor superfighter. Even more power-hungry would be out-and-out directed energy microwave or laser rayguns, intended to addle the seeker heads of enemy missiles or even blast them out of the sky. Again, efforts are already underway to develop electrically powered versions of such weapons - at present, weapons-grade beams can only be generated in huge, cumbersome chemically fuelled machinery.

Obviously $690k is chickenfeed in the context of US military development funding - but the INVENT programme would seem to indicate the way the wind is blowing. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.