Skyward has successfully developed and patented (US patent 6,948,567 B1) a low-cost, lightweight fire protection device, the Enhanced Powder Panel (EPP). This device passively stores and delivers fire extinguishing agent into a potential fire zone in an aircraft or ground vehicle. The EPP functions upon the impact of a ballistic projectile, fragmentation or debris (e.g., uncontained engine blade release), or a crash event, and almost instantly suppresses fire ignition to prevent an onboard fire. The EPP has numerous potential commercial applications, including passenger vehicle and building fire protection.
The development of the EPP featured the use of Skyward's internal Research & Development team along with funding and collaborative assistance from the Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP) and the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program (JASP), including efforts under the Joint Live Fire (JLF) Program.
EPPs have been effectively demonstrated in a number of production-realistic combat aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing). Design variants have undergone environmental compliance testing by MET Laboratories and were found to be compliant with MIL-STD-810F and SAE J1455 requirements in all tests. EPPs have also flown on a test bed aircraft for many hours to demonstrate flightworthiness.
The EPP weighs less than 0.5 pound per square foot and is less than 0.1 inch thick for aircraft applications, yet has the following improvements over older traditional powder panel designs: