Power for the pulse

American Superconductor Corporation has today been selected as a subcontractor for the Electro-Thermal Ignition Pulsed Power System, a firing mechanism being designed for use with electro-thermal chemical guns.

American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) has today been selected by United Defense Industries as a subcontractor for the Electro-Thermal Ignition Pulsed Power System (ETIPPS) that United Defense is developing for the US 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 Britain’s Royal Navy.

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. ETC offers the potential for near-term substantial increases in projectile kinetic energy of up to 25 percent.

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 reportedly more accurate than conventional guns.

If successful, the ETIPPS program will provide the US Army with propulsion technology that will increase projectile kinetic energy and overall gun performance by up to 50 percent with corresponding increases in lethality and range.