The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to Adaptive Materials to provide 60W fuel cell systems that will meet power needs.

Under the $3m contract, Adaptive will develop, evaluate and manufacture 60W solid oxide fuel cells, over the next 19 months.

The main focus of the programme will be to determine the feasibility of fuel cells to power communications, surveillance and other technologies for soldiers in the field.

During the development, Adaptive will work on fuel cell ruggedisation, reliability, power density and startup time.

The company will design the propane-powered fuel cells with a 72-hour mission capability.

The USAF will begin testing the 60W fuel cells at the end of 2010, following their delivery from Adaptive Materials.