US Air Force seals $35M deal with LiquidPiston for hybrid power systems


The US Air Force has awarded a $35 million contract to LiquidPiston, a Connecticut-based company specializing in compact engine technology and hybrid power systems. Administered by AFWERX, a Technology Directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory in partnership with AFLCMC, the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, this contract aims to support the advancement of hybrid power systems.

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Liquidpiston 925 001   LiquidPiston hybrid UAV (Picture source: LiquidPiston)


This development represents a significant achievement for LiquidPiston, building upon its ongoing Phase II SBIR program, which is assisting the 144th Fighter Wing in creating an Adaptive Basing Trailer for rapid fighter jet deployment. The $35 million contract includes $15 million from the STRATFI program, unveiled in June 2023. This underscores the recognition of LiquidPiston's role in the development of engines and hybrid power solutions tailored for military applications.

Under this contract, LiquidPiston will undertake the design, development, and certification of a rotary engine with over 90 horsepower, capable of running on heavy fuels. This engine will be integrated into a modular Rotary Engine Hybrid Power System, offering versatility for various Air Force applications, including propulsion for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the use of Organic Resupply Bus (ORB) for transporting both humans and cargo, supporting mobile operating bases, and powering vehicle auxiliary units (APUs).

Lieutenant Colonel John Tekell, AFWERX Agility Prime Lead, stressed the significance of enhanced mobility and swift power deployment in enabling the Air Force to support complex multi-domain operations on a global scale. He highlighted the potential of hybrid power systems and compact rotary engine technology to offer a modular power solution for a range of critical support and tactical applications.

LiquidPiston's reception of the STRATFI award further solidifies its role as a provider of customized power solutions for the US Department of Defense. Over the past year, the company has secured a $9 million development contract from the US Army for a prototype core engine based on its XTS-210 design. Additionally, it has received an $8.3 million award to transform battlefield power generation, also for the US Army.

Alec Shkolnik, Founder and CEO of LiquidPiston, expressed his enthusiasm about collaborating with the Air Force. He stated that this collaboration lays the groundwork for a new portfolio of engines, providing logistical advantages. Moreover, he highlighted that the technology being developed has dual-use applications, with the potential for scalability and adaptability to address military and, in the near future, commercial needs.