An Oxfordshire-based specialist team from WAE is working closely with BAE Systems engineers in Lancashire to inform and guide thinking about how future aircraft could fly faster and more efficiently than anything before.
The project is part of a wider research effort to develop technologies that could be used to develop advanced combat air system for the UK.
According to the companies, 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 sub-systems, with pilots depending on high-performance ‘power when you need it’ combat air capability.
Julia Sutcliffe, CTO for BAE Systems’ Air sector, says: “Working in partnership with companies like WAE is vital to drive rapid innovation at the pace the Tempest programme demands. 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, our international partners and our allies.
“This collaboration is a great example of how we’re starting to achieve this – finding synergies, great engineering minds and mutually beneficial technology projects with organisations outside of our traditional partnership base.”
Paul McNamara, technical director at WAE, adds: “We feel privileged to be involved in this ground breaking project and are confident that our experience in advanced battery development and cooling technologies will allow us to deliver innovative new solutions that can be applied in the defence sector. We have already seen a number of tangible benefits from closer working with BAE Systems, tapping into a rich source of experience from a range of engineering disciplines.”
The UK’s ability to generate and employ combat air power is critical to deliver national security and to support the Government’s vision for a strong, prosperous, influential and global Britain. This study forms part of a wider UK research effort to develop a set of capabilities designed to support a fully-connected future combat air system, building on the country’s national heritage of advanced technology programmes and development of world-class military capabilities.
The latest project also builds on an agreement signed in 2018 between the two companies to share technology, expertise and skills across a range of areas, including augmented reality, cockpit designs and advanced materials to create innovations for the design, performance and production of both fast jets and fast cars. A secondment programme is also in place creating opportunities for graduates and apprentices to share best practice across the two organisations.