Inspired by motorsport

BAE Systems and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have joined forces to explore how battery management and cooling technologies from the motorsport industry could be exploited to deliver efficiency and performance gains in the design of future combat aircraft.


Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technology Officer for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “Working in partnership with companies like WAE is vital to drive rapid innovation at the pace the Tempest programme demands. Changing how we engage with wider industry and leveraging the best technologies and processes from across the global supply chain is essential in order to deliver value to the UK, our international partners and our allies.

“This collaboration is a great example of how we’re starting to achieve this – finding synergies, great engineering minds and mutually beneficial technology projects with organisations outside of our traditional partnership base.”

The project is part of a wider research effort to develop technologies that could be used to develop the most advanced combat air system for the UK. Next generation combat air technologies will need high-power at low weight in order to provide long range endurance and mission success. Future systems will also need to generate enough energy to power a small town, which can be managed safely and efficiently throughout the aircraft and its subsystems, with pilots depending on high-performance ‘power when you need it’ combat air capability.

WAE brings best-in-class capability in power management – from decades of experience of driving performance in the automotive and motorsport industry – and as a foundation technical partner in Formula E to transfer the technologies into electric vehicles on land, sea and in the air.