LiquidPiston Awarded USAF Contract to Develop Rotary Engine

LiquidPiston will design, develop, and qualify a 90+ horsepower heavy-fueled rotary engine, which will be incorporated into a modular Rotary Engine Hybrid Power System By Joseph Macey / 06 Oct 2023
LIQUIDPISTON Hybrid Power System Technology Awarded $35M U.S. Air Force Contract
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LiquidPiston has been awarded a three-year, $35 million contract to support hybrid power system development.

The contract was awarded by AFWERX, a Technology Directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory, in partnership with AFLCMC, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. 

This award builds on an ongoing Phase II SBIR program supporting the 144th Fighter Wing, which is developing an Adaptive Basing Trailer to support rapid deployment of fighter jets. 

The new $35 million contract includes $15 million in SBIR funding from the prestigious STRATFI program, announced in June 2023.

According to LiquidPiston, the funding reflects growing acknowledgment of the company as a driver of smaller, lighter, more efficient engines and hybrid power solutions for military applications.

With this award, LiquidPiston will design, develop, and qualify a 90+ horsepower heavy-fueled rotary engine, which will be incorporated into a modular Rotary Engine Hybrid Power System™. This engine and platform can serve as the “power pack” for a variety of applications of interest to the Air Force, including unmanned aerial systems (UAS) propulsion, human- and cargo-carrying Organic Resupply Bus (ORB) capabilities, mobile operating bases, and vehicle auxiliary power units (APUs). 

“Increased mobility and rapid deployment of power are important to the Air Force as we support our forces in complex multi-domain operations across the globe,” said Lt Col John Tekell, AFWERX Agility Prime Lead. “Hybrid power systems and compact rotary engine technology have the potential to provide a disruptive modular power solution for a variety of critical support and tactical applications.” 

LiquidPiston’s STRATFI award continues the company’s noteworthy momentum as a leader in custom power solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense. In the last year, it has also received a $9 million development contract from the U.S. Army to develop a prototype “core engine” based on its XTS-210 design, as well as an $8.3 million award to revolutionize battlefield power generation, also for the U.S. Army. 

“By working with the Air Force, we’re laying the building blocks for a new portfolio of engines in the 100-horsepower class,” added Alec Shkolnik, Founder and CEO of LiquidPiston. “We’re excited to work with the Air Force on this program, providing logistical advantage to the warfighter. The technology being developed will have dual-use application, ultimately being scalable and adaptable to meet a spectrum of military – and soon commercial – needs.”

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