Northrop Grumman IPES Solutions Under Consideration
US DoD is investing in enhanced power and energy solutions throughout the battlespace in response to potential adversaries’ advances in directed energy weapons, hypersonics and other capabilities. Bob Sacca, Director and lead of Northrop Grumman’s Power and Control Systems Operating Unit and Matt Superczynski, the unit’s chief engineer, updated MON on their advances to meet this requirement with their stronger, more enduring Integrated Power and Energy Systems (IPES) solutions.
The USN is closely monitoring these trends in order to field more lethal and survivable, next-generation weapon and sensor systems. “Historically, power has been overlooked,” Superczynski noted. “Military leaders have recently been quoted that power is now part of the kill chain. That puts it in a whole new perspective.”
SWaP [size, weight and power consumption] is a significant factor in evolving naval IPES solutions. Observing that installed radars, EW and other onboard systems have their own ‘stove-piped’ power sources, Superczynski added, “you really can’t optimize that installed hardware. This is a key aspect of what the next generation has to bring – the ability to support multiple loads, and tap into that stored energy and power availability in a very dynamic way to optimize the system as a whole.” Northrop Grumman is bringing to bear the results of investments over the last decade plus, to provide electronics power modules, the controls around them, and delivering an effective energy management component to power conversion which, heretofore, has not existed in real time. “These are new capabilities we are bringing to the US Navy, to enable those next generation systems. That commonality across platforms is helping us rein in costs and support tighter schedules.”
Sacca added his unit’s IPES work for the Navy is platform agnostic through the battlespace and relies on distinct building blocks: power management and power conversion; efficiencies in energy storage; the company’s experience in developing controls and distribution systems; and effective thermal management. The company offers “a flexible and scalable set of building blocks to allow it to break down existing stove pipes and create a power system that supports multiple, dynamic loads, built with the same components currently onboard ships – we can bring to bear the control and energy storage, and make these components better utilize the installed energy and support those loads.”
A key US Navy business development opportunity being eyed by the Northrop Grumman IPES team is the evolving DD(X) programme – for starters.
Marty Kauchak reporting from Arlington, Virginia for MON