Integration and partnerships deliver innovative solutions for Air Force

The Air Warfare Centre’s (AWC) Innovation Hub is working with industry to create a turbine with the potential to power an air base with units small enough to hold in two hands.
The Air Warfare Centre’s (AWC) Innovation Hub is working with industry to create a turbine with the potential to power an air base with units small enough to hold in two hands.
 
Air Force challenged ecoJet Engineering to produce a 20 kilowatt version of its micro gas turbine through Jericho Dawn, Plan Jericho’s program for uncovering emerging technologies.
 
At a demonstration in Canberra late last year, ecoJet’s Warren Day, Alexander Wright and James Kim presented the results of the rapid prototyping process, which saw the engineers scale their design from a matchbox 1kW turbine to a one-man portable 20kW version in less than a year.
 
The demonstration was also supported by the AWC’s Digital Innovation Lab who developed an Augmented Reality model of ecoJet’s design which enabled the audience to walk through the micro turbine and examine each component in detail.
 
AWC Innovation Hub Manager Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Myles Clarke says the micro turbine will have a range of advantages for Air Force.
 
“At only 48 kilograms, this turbine can produce more power than a trailer-sized military diesel generator weighing in at almost half a tonne,” SQNLDR Clarke said.
 
“A mobile power source makes it easier and faster to deploy power to forward operating bases and because it can run on propane, natural gas or diesel, it offers versatility in terms of fuel source.
 
“South Australian start up ecoJet Engineering has developed a world-leading micro turbine engine to provide a solution for adaptable and dependable on-demand power.
 
“Through this collaboration, we are developing high output, versatile on-demand power sources in lightweight and compact units providing the energy security and agility required by current and future forces.”
 
The AWC Innovation Hub will have Jericho Dawn Projects on display throughout the JERICHO Flight Line, JERICHO DAWN Runway and Astro STEM Tent at this year’s Avalon International Airshow.
 
“Solving complex operational problems and delivering the best possible solutions is at the heart of our business,” SQNLDR Clarke said.
 
“Where obvious solutions do not exist, we harness the broader workforce to deliver innovative alternatives.
 
“We achieved this by proactively seeking integration both within AWC, but more importantly across Defence, Coalition, Industry and Academia.
 
“EcoJet continues to work with Air Force to meet the ever-evolving needs of a fifth generation Air Force.”
 
EcoJet was founded in 2016 by ex RAAF member Warren Day, James Kim and Alexander Wright after they collaborated on their Honours Thesis at the University of Adelaide to deliver one of the world’s smallest ultra-micro gas turbines.