General Atomics Tests Thermal Energy Storage Device for Directed Energy Weapons

Jun 02, 2010

San Diego, June 2, 2010: General Atomics’ Advanced Power Systems Division today announced that it has completed testing of an advanced thermal energy storage device capable of cooling directed energy weapons (DEW).

The 3 megajoule device is the first large scale module capable of storing heat at a high rate as required for DEW. “We are very pleased with its performance, which shows that it can store heat at an average rate of 230 kilowatts. To put it into perspective, it’s the equivalent of melting about 20 pounds of ice in 13 seconds,” said Dr. Paul Clark, Manager, Advanced Power Systems of General Atomics.

Heat is stored in the 35 kilogram module by melting a wax-type phase change material. These materials, by themselves, cannot support the high heat transfer rate and must be combined with other materials to enhance their thermal properties and make them work. Thermal management is one of the many challenges of DEW, which produce tremendous amounts of waste heat. Rejecting heat from these systems in real time is not practical, making thermal energy storage a necessity. High power lasers and high power microwave systems will both benefit from this technology.

General Atomics, founded in 1955, with corporate headquarters in San Diego, CA, specializes in diversified research, development, and manufacturing in defense, energy and other advanced technology arenas. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, provides unmanned aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications. For more information, please visit


Doug Fouquet
Public Relations
General Atomics
(858) 455-2173

Paul Clark
Advanced Power Systems
General Atomics
(858) 455-4445

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