LIQUIDPISTON™ Hybrid Power System Technology Awarded $35M U.S. Air Force Contract

Funding supports development of a lightweight, portable, modular, and scalable heavy-fueled Rotary Engine Hybrid Power System™ for multiple mobile power applications

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., Oct. 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LiquidPiston, a leading innovator of compact, efficient engine technology and hybrid power systems, announced today that it has been awarded a three-year, $35 million contract to support hybrid power system development. The contract was awarded by AFWERX, a Technology Directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory, in partnership with AFLCMC, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

This award builds on an ongoing Phase II SBIR program supporting the 144th Fighter Wing, which is developing an Adaptive Basing Trailer to support rapid deployment of fighter jets. The new $35 million contract includes $15 million in SBIR funding from the prestigious STRATFI program, announced in June 2023. The funding reflects growing acknowledgment of LiquidPiston as a driver of smaller, lighter, more efficient engines and hybrid power solutions for military applications.

With this award, LiquidPiston will design, develop, and qualify a 90+ horsepower heavy-fueled rotary engine, which will be incorporated into a modular Rotary Engine Hybrid Power System™. This engine and platform can serve as the “power pack” for a variety of applications of interest to the Air Force, including unmanned aerial systems (UAS) propulsion, human- and cargo-carrying Organic Resupply Bus (ORB) capabilities, mobile operating bases, and vehicle auxiliary power units (APUs).

“Increased mobility and rapid deployment of power are important to the Air Force as we support our forces in complex multi-domain operations across the globe,” said Lt Col John Tekell, AFWERX Agility Prime Lead.Hybrid power systems and compact rotary engine technology have the potential to provide a disruptive modular power solution for a variety of critical support and tactical applications.”

LiquidPiston’s STRATFI award continues the company’s noteworthy momentum as a leader in custom power solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense. In the last year, it has also received a $9 million development contract from the U.S. Army to develop a prototype “core engine” based on its XTS-210 design, as well as an $8.3 million award to revolutionize battlefield power generation, also for the U.S. Army.

“By working with the Air Force, we’re laying the building blocks for a new portfolio of engines in the 100-horsepower class,” said Alec Shkolnik, Founder and CEO of LiquidPiston. “We’re excited to work with the Air Force on this program, providing logistical advantage to the warfighter. The technology being developed will have dual-use application, ultimately being scalable and adaptable to meet a spectrum of military – and soon commercial – needs.”

To view LiquidPiston's media kit, please click here. For more information about the STRATFI program, visit

The views expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

About LiquidPiston

LiquidPiston, Inc., a technology startup based in Bloomfield, CT, is leading the power systems industry’s development of combustion engines that are scalable (from one horsepower (hp) to over 1,000), compact (delivering 1.5 hp/lb), and capable of efficiently utilizing fossil or low-carbon fuels. The company’s patented High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle™ (HEHC), aka “The Shkolnik Cycle”, and engine architecture innovation support next-generation fuel-energy conversion solutions for hybrid power systems, including for UAS, mobile power generation, and APU applications.

To learn more, visit

About AFRL

Sole organization leading the planning & execution of USAF & USSF science & technology programs. Orchestrates a world-wide government, industry & academia coalition in the discovery, development & delivery of a wide range of revolutionary technology. Provides leading-edge warfighting capabilities keeping air, space and cyberspace forces the world's best. Employs 10,800 military, civilian, and contractor personnel at 17 research sites executing an annual $4B budget. For more information, visit:


AFWERX, which provides a limited number of STRATFI awards annually under the SBIR program, is a Technology Directorate of AFRL, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force. AFWERX’s mission is to accelerate agile and affordable capability transitions by teaming leaders in innovative technology with Airman and Guardian talent. Additional information is available at


AFLCMC, ​​the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, is charged with life cycle management of Air Force weapon systems from their inception to retirement. AFLCMC works closely with AFRL to adopt new technologies that impact the holistic management of weapon systems across their life cycle and simplify/consolidate staff functions and processes to curtail redundancy and enhance efficiency. In the words of AFLCMC, “if Airmen fly it, fuel it, transport it, drive it, wear it, shelter in it, communicate with it or drop it on targets – AFLCMC provides it.”

Media Contact
Jon Keller