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Superconductors for Advanced Weapons

American Superconductor Corporation recently announced that it has been selected by United Defense Industries, Inc. as a subcontractor for the Electro-Thermal Ignition Pulsed Power System (ETIPPS) that United Defense is developing for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).

ETIPPS is a firing system that is being designed for use with electro-thermal chemical (ETC) guns, an advanced weapon technology for future artillery, battle tank and infantry fighting vehicles.

AMSC is using its PM1000 PowerModule power electronic converters to develop a high voltage charger (HV charger) for ETIPPS.

The HV charger will convert the 600 volts supplied by the military vehicle's battery system to the 7,000 volts of charging power needed to arm ETIPPS prior to firing the weapon. This PM1000 application follows one announced by AMSC in May 2003, in which the PM1000 was selected for use in a shipboard generator application for the British Royal Navy

"American Superconductor's proven ability to design and deliver state-of-the-art high voltage solutions quickly makes them an ideal technology partner for the ETIPPS project," said Juleigh Herbig, leader of the ETIPPS Project at United Defense. "Their PM1000 power converters have a flexible, modular design, are extremely compact and offer very high power density - all critical attributes for ETIPPS. We look forward to working closely with AMSC on this important new gun technology for the U.S. Army."

ETC guns use pulsed power, in which large amounts of stored electrical energy are released over a matter of milliseconds, to augment and control the release of chemical energy from conventional and advanced projectile propellants.

ETIPPS is a gun firing system that uses pulsed power to ignite the propellant used by an ETC gun. ETC guns can fire smart munitions, insensitive munitions, and conventional rounds and are more accurate than conventional guns.

More information on Superconductors

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