Motorsport battery technology to aid next generation fighter jet development

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BAE Systems and motorsport company Williams are to jointly develop battery management and cooling technologies for future fighter jets.

The defense firm is to partner with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the Oxfordshire, UK-based part of Williams that works to transfer technologies originally developed for race cars into other industries.

WAE is a leader in the design and delivery of advanced batteries. The company was recently appointed as the Gen3 exclusive battery system supplier of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The company aims to transfer knowledge and technology about motorsport batteries to deliver efficiency and performance gains in the design of future combat aircraft.

Paul McNamara, technical director at Williams Advanced Engineering said, “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 project is part of a wider Team Tempest research program to develop technologies for the UK’s next generation fighter jet.

Disclosed requirements for the fighter include the need high-power at low weight, to carry out 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.

Julia Sutcliffe, chief technology officer for BAE Systems’ air sector said, “Working in partnership with companies like WAE is vital to drive rapid innovation at the pace the Tempest program 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 latest project 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 game-changing innovations for the design, performance and production of both fast jets and fast cars.

 

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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