The Navy is canceling a course to set up fuel-efficient hybrid electric drives in 34 destroyers, leaving only 1 destroyer with all the technology, the Navy confirmed in a very statement.
Citing “department priorities,” the service requested $6.3 million for 2018 to complete cellular phone about the destroyer Truxtun, but has zeroed out funding in 2019 plus the out years. The service has spent about $52 million on the program currently. The whole program was anticipated to cost $356.25 million, based on the Navy’s FY2017 budget submission.
“Based for the Department’s priorities, President’s Budget 2019 removes funding from Hybrid Electric Drive program in FY 2019,” said Lt. Lauren Chatmas inside a statement. “There aren’t any further procurements or installations planned beyond DDG-103 in the Future Years Defense Program.”
The Navy use Truxtun being a test bed to ascertain if the technology makes sense in the long run, Chatmas continued.
“Installation on DDG-103 is at progress and when installation is complete, operational use of HED on DDG-103 will likely be monitored and evaluated to determine the effectiveness of HED. This will inform future decision for the fielding of HED.”
The program developed with L-3 was made to exchange capacity to the drive shaft, which turns the ship’s propellers, through the main LM2500 gas turbine motors for the ship’s electrical generators at speeds below 13 knots. At those speeds the ship could perform night steaming, ballistic missile defense or anti-submarine operations, but not keep up using the speedy carriers.
As this system started to materialize and development progressed, numerous problems began to materialize, in accordance with an old Navy official who spoke on background. Foremost most notable was the intense electrical load that running the drive system about the ship’s two running generators was putting around the ship.
Destroyers have three generators, two of which run while a third remains in standby, which rotates through while generators are down for maintenance or even in case associated with an emergency. Running the electrical motor that turned the shaft while also running the ship’s power-hungry radars and related systems maxed out the capacity of those generators.
“At that period you are a light switch flipping on from winking out the whole ship,” the state said.
Furthermore, running the generators at this load wasn’t the same manner fuel efficient as they had hoped it might be.
Those issues, while valid, could probably happen to be solved through engineering, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
To Clark, canceling this system seems somewhat shortsighted, in the risk of the technology to create a real difference in fuel efficiency later on ships and classes.
“If it’s a money thing, that’s something,” he was quoted saying. “If it’s either this or put money into over-the-horizon anti-surface weapons, well OK. But if it’s this or any other science and technology or research and development program, one of the major challenges we’ve got is finding out how to be more efficient at certain profiles. That would be worth knowing.”