Feeds

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

USAF to jazz up jet juice use

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.