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I've been catching up on your fantastic summer of postings ("staggering", as Mr. Yurek might say). (That's very gentle joking about Mr. Yurek ... he's an amazing guy who's done some amazing things, IMO). (Did you really sleep in your car?)
Anyway, you were working on a letter to suggest AMSC look into novel aerospace applications for HTS based generators. The Air Force has been interested in this for quite a while. In fact, the AF contributed funding to AMSC's production ramp up effort. Here's a post I plopped on the RB Superconductor Industry board back in Dec '05:


I did a little poking around as to why the Air Force would be funding the production ramp-up of 2G HTS wire rather than the Navy (which has already made public it's intention to build the next generation of ships based on superconducting motors).

Turns out the AF has planned many different uses for superconductor based generators. If interested, start at the following page and follow some of the links, especially those under "Power Division". These pages are all dated from 2002, so we can assume some progress since then. Also, within the DOD it's always easier to classify information than to decide to make it public, so we may be getting only a glimpse of what is going on in this area.

I like this blurb:

"Superconducting generators provide megawatts of power in a small, lightweight package. Aircraft, spacecraft and ground systems need more electrical power today and in the future than ever before. Several weapon systems in the near future require megawatts of electrical power. The superconducting generators being developed by the Power Division in the US Air Force's Propulsion Directorate will deliver this high power."

I wonder what weapons will be requiring megawatts of power? Rail guns? Ray guns? There is mention on one of the pages of a "Directed Energy" department, with no further info. Hmmmm....

Since I own a goodly little chunk of AMSC, I no doubt suffer from the myopia that tends to develop from being wrapped up in the unfolding story. (So take my opining with a grain of salt). As I see it, there have been many huge companies that were initially built on the foundation of military contracts. It seems that several branches of the military have substantial (and relatively near term) applications planned for this technology. (Notice the AF is funding production capability, not R&D ... ).

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