As it develops high-power microwave weapons, the US military is looking at ways to protect its aircraft from extreme electromagnetic events. With US Air Force Research Laboratory funding, GE Aviation is leading a team developing an integrated flight control and power system that will make aircraft immune to electromagnetic effects.

Current levels of immunity to electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) will not be sufficient against future ground- and platform-based sources of interference, says AFRL, which is researching technologies such as photonics and advanced shielding that could make future aircraft inherently immune.

The Air Vehicle Electromagnetic Environmental Effects Immunity (AVE3I) initiative is intended to enable an aircraft to survive an extreme event with the goal near-term (2013) of returning to base safely, mid-term (2017) of completing limited parts of the mission and long-term (2025) of performing the full mission.

Under the four-year, $12.5 million AVE3I technology demonstration launched late last year, and with future tanker, airlift and long-range strike aircraft as potential mid-term applications, the GE-led team is to ground-test an integrated flight control and power system immune to elevated levels of electromagnetic interference. This could lead to a follow-on flight demonstration.

Source: Flight International