General Atomics to Design and Fabricate Advanced Propulsion Motor for US Navy


Feb 28, 2005

San Diego, CA. 24 February 2005. The Office of Naval Research has awarded General Atomics (GA) a $46-million contract for detail design, fabrication, and factory testing of a full-scale superconducting dc homopolar motor for ship propulsion. Under this contract, GA will deliver a 36.5-megawatt, 120-rpm advanced design prototype motor, motor drive, and support equipment, which will be shipped to a US Navy facility for full-performance testing. This full-scale system is sized to propel large vessels, such as destroyers, now in development by the Navy.

Under earlier contracts, GA designed, fabricated, and tested a test-stand motor at the 300-kilowatt level, upgraded this motor to the 3.7-megawatt level for further testing, and completed the preliminary design of the 36.5-megawatt motor. The superconducting dc homopolar motor offers many benefits, including a very small diameter and light weight.

GA's subcontractors on this program include Alstom USA, Gibbs & Cox, General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.

Will Creedon, Program Manager, said, "We know the superconducting homopolar system has intrinsic advantages for ship propulsion, and are looking forward to designing, building, and testing a very compact and efficient system at this very high power level."

The homopolar motor program is being carried out in GA's Electromagnetic Systems (EMS) Division, which currently has several projects aimed at increasing electrical functionality aboard Navy ships. These include the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear, Integrated Fight-Through Power, and Electromagnetic Launch System (rail gun).

EMS Division Vice President, Mike Reed, summed up General Atomics' pleasure in supporting the Navy on these advanced programs by stating, "GA's superconducting dc homopolar motor system, when combined with future dc link power distribution systems, will greatly simplify the entire ship integrated power distribution and motor drive system. A significant reduction in the total number of system components, along with reduced total system acquisition cost, will be attained. Overall system efficiency will be greatly improved with less system power conversion losses, allowing lower system life-cycle operating costs for fuel and maintenance."

For further information contact:

Will Creedon
Homopolar Motor Program Manager
General Atomics
PO Box 85608
San Diego, CA 92186-5608
(858) 455-3528

Carl Fisher
Director, Business Development
Electromagnetic Systems Division
(202) 496-8217

Doug Fouquet
Public Relations
(858) 455-2173


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