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Cree Wins US Air Force Semiconductor Contract for F-35

By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 1, 2015
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A-Variant (CTOL) LRIP F-35 aircraft
A-Variant (CTOL) LRIP F-35 aircraft. Photo: JSF

[Avionics Today 09-01-2015] The U.S. Air Force has awarded a follow-on contract of $4.1 million to Cree, a wide-bandgap semiconductor electronics company. The new funding will enable the qualification of a high-performance power electronic module developed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The high power densities and high voltages required to operate mechanical flight systems using electric motors are driving a transition to high-density silicon carbide power electronic systems that can operate at higher efficiencies, higher voltages, higher power densities, and higher temperatures in comparison with conventional silicon electronics. The new contract will fund rigorous qualification testing of the developed power modules to broaden integration platforms and commercial viability of the product.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is one of the first major programs implementing the Air Force’s new “More Electric” and “All Electric” aircraft design philosophy, which mandates the replacement of mechanical hydraulic aircraft flight control systems with lighter weight, low-maintenance electric motors and drives.

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