GE Aviation has secured a contract to develop silicon carbide-based power electronics for the US Army to support high-voltage, next-generation ground vehicle power architecture.

The $2.1m contract was awarded in support of the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (TARDEC) ‘leap-ahead’ technology development programme for next-generation vehicles.

GE Aviation Electrical Power Systems president Vic Bonneau said: "The US Army’s implementation of silicon carbide technology for high-voltage, more electric ground vehicles, facilitates significant improvements in size, weight and power for high temperature applications.

"We have multiple silicon carbide based power conversion products in development and continue to invest in this area.

"Successes to date have led to this new application that will enable the US Army to better manage on-board power and simplify the vehicle cooling architecture. Ultimately, this product will increase mission capability for the warfighter."

Under the terms of the deal, the company will demonstrate the silicon carbide Mosfet technology combined with Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices in a 15kW, 28VDC / 600VDC bi-directional converter as part of an 18-month development programme.

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A technology demonstration is scheduled to take place in mid-2017.

The new technology is expected to provide twice the power in less than 50% of the volume of current silicon-based electronics.