Power Management and Distribution System for a More-Electric Aircraft (MADMEL) - Program Status 1999-01-2547
A number of technology breakthroughs in the past ten years rekindled the concept of a more-electric aircraft. High-power solid-state switching devices, electrohydro-static actuators (EHAs), electromechanical actuators (EMAs), and high-speed generators are just a few examples of component developments. These developments have made dramatic improvements in properties such as weight, size, power, and cost. However, these components cannot be applied piecemeal. A complete, and somewhat revolutionary, system design approach was needed to exploit the benefits that a more-electric aircraft can provide. Traditional-mounted auxiliary drives, and bleed air extraction will disappear, to be replaced with integral engine starter/generators and electrically driven actuators and pumps.
A five-phase Power Management and Distribution System for a More-Electric Aircraft (MADMEL) program was awarded by the Air Force to Northrop/Grumman Military Aircraft Division in September 1991. The objective of the program is to design, develop, and demonstrate an advanced electrical power generation and distribution system for a More-Electric Aircraft (MEA). The MEA emphasizes the use of electrical power in place of hydraulics, pneumatic, and mechanical power to optimize the performance and life cycle cost of the aircraft. This paper presents an overview of the MADMEL program and a top-level summary of the program results, development and test of major components to date. In Phase I and Phase II studies, the electrical load requirements were established and the electrical power system architecture was defined for both near-term (NT-year 1996) and far-term (FT-year 2003) MEA application. The detailed design and specification for the Electrical Power System (EPS), its interface with the Vehicle Management System, and the test set-up were developed under Phase III. Phase IV, fabrication and testing of the subsystem level hardware, has been completed. The overall system level integration and testing, Phase V, is scheduled to be completed by September 1999.