Home » Budget Industry »  Navy Set to Install Hybrid Electric Drives in Destroyer Fleet Staring Next Year


 Navy Set to Install Hybrid Electric Drives in Destroyer Fleet Staring Next Year

Guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) transits the Strait of Gibraltar in 2014. US Navy Photo

Guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) transits the Strait of Gibraltar in 2014. US Navy Photo

Next year the Navy will begin installing a hybrid electric drive (HED) system on 34 Flight IIA Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers in a bid to lower the fuel costs of the ships, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) told USNI News in a statement.
The system, which will marry an electric motor to the ships’ main reduction gear to drive the ship at low speeds, promises to save the service thousands of barrels of fuel in over a ship’s deployment.

Earlier this year L-3 — the company was awarded contract in 2012 to develop the technology — delivered two pre-production HED systems for testing ahead of the first installation in the Burkes in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2016 after research and development testing is done, NAVSEA said.

The almost $50 million program, to date, follows the lead of the U.K. Royal Navy which used a similar scheme to drive its Type 23 Duke-class frigates.

While the Burke’s four LM-2500 gas turbines are highly efficient at top speeds, the efficiency decreases at lower speeds, wasting more fuel.

Utilizing a preexisting quill drive in the main reduction gear, the HED motor is capable of turning the drive shaft and propelling the ship at speeds less than 13 kts. That speed range would work well with missions like ballistic missile defense or maritime security operations.

“HED will provide DDG-51 commanding officers with an additional propulsion option at low speeds. Lowering the rate of fuel consumption during low speed operation increases mission effectiveness through greater time on station,” read the statement from NAVSEA.
“In an operational context, using HED 50 percent of the time increases time on station by as much as 2.5 days between refueling.”

NAVSEA began investigating the HED concept for destroyers around 2008, when oil prices were at $174 a barrel said NAVSEA’s Glen Sturtevant in an interview with Jane’s Defence Weekly in 2010.

The service tested the concept on USS Truxtun (DDG-103) under a research and development contract with General Atomics using a DRS Technologies permanent magnet motor in 2012 before selecting L-3 to outfit the Flight IIA ships.

Following the first two ships in FY 2016, NAVSEA plans to outfit four ships with the HED capability a year.

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Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • OldSailor

    Will these be new construction ships or modifications of existing ships?

    • Secundius

      @ OldSailor.

      1. DDG-51 to DDG-71 Flight I, Modified to Flight III, Standards.
      2. DDG-72 to DDG-78 Flight II, Modified to Flight III Standards.
      3. DDG-79 to DDG-112 Flight IIA, Modified to Flight III Standards.
      4. DDG-113 to DDG-123 Flight IIA Restarts, Modified to Flight III Standards.
      5. DDG-124, DDG-125, and DDG-126 New Builds in Flight III Standards.

      All Ship’s that mounted a 54-caliber gun, will mount 62-caliber guns. And All Ship’s that mounted a 62-caliber gun, will mount 65-caliber guns…

      • adaptus primus

        The guns are new, but the navy decided to keep the old style “non-stealth” gun cupola to save money.

        • Secundius

          @ adaptus primus.

          The only thing different about the Deck Gun’s are the Barrel’s. Same Gun System, Different Barrels. Same with the Russian T-14 Armata Tank. A T-64 Gun Assembly with a 82-caliber Barrel, instead of a 46-caliber Barrel…

          • adaptus primus

            longer barrel boosts projectile velocity, which in turn improves ballistic performance and range. Cupola is the turret that houses gun mount and assembly below the deck. New built Mk45Mod4 gun system employs a different shaped cupola which suppose to reduces RCS. Retrofit Mk45Mod4 doesn’t seem to have the new housing. All up-gunned Tico cruiser should also getting the longer barrel 62 cal guns but recent photos still shown old style cupola from the 54 cal gun era.

          • Secundius

            @ adaptus primus.

            Last I heard, ALL Tico’s were in the Shipyards being Modified to Gas-Turbine/Electric Standards. HOW RECENT, IS RECENT. Also considering that the TICO’S were never a Stealth Ship, What Improvement would Mounting New Gun Housing’s Do Too Improving the Ship’s Performance, if ANY…

          • adaptus primus

            Besides mech hull/electrical system upgrade, Cruiser Modernization Program also refreshes Aegis combat system including the ability to conduct NIFC-CA (which also means carrying new weapons such as SM-6 on board), plus 62 cal. gun installment. But I agree with you, so-called “stealth” turret has little values.

          • Secundius

            @ adaptus primus.

            For the TICO’s it’s called a “Baseline 9” Upgrade, but the SM-6 is not part of the Package. SM-2 and SM-3, are. SM-6, was a Test Evaluation for “Possible” Future Deployment. Also the CIC is being “rearranged” so personnel won’t get “Sea Sick” during High-Speed Ship Maneuvers…

          • Curtis Conway

            Yeah ! Finally!

          • Frank Langham

            Sometimes, the comments section is more interesting than the article.

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen to that! One learns so much!

      • Slacker

        DDG 51-123 modified to FLT III? Are Harry, Ron and Hermoine available for design engineering?

        • Secundius

          @ Slacker.

          DDG’s 121, 122, and 123 are be built the Flight III Configuration from the “KEEL” UP as a NEW Sub-Arleigh Burke class. Earlier TIN CANS are to be Dismantled to get Direct Access “Needed” to do the Modifications. And then Re-Commissioned, as a Flight III Sub-Class…

      • OldSailor

        Thank you.

        I assume that mods to the Flight I ships are all “internal” and don’t require modification or stretching the hull to allow adding a helo hanger as in Flight II and beyond.

        And the MK-45 5″/54 and 5″/62 are simply the same gun will a longer barrel and perhaps the angular gun house.

        Take care shipmate.

        • Secundius

          @ OldSailor.

          Basically going from a .30-30Winchester to a 7.62x51NATO for the Fight I’s, bypassing the .30-30 Ackley Improved in the process. And .308Winchester to 7.62x51NATO for the Flight II/IIA’s…

  • Curtis Conway

    FINALLY! The article only talks about existing DDG 51 Flt IIA vessels and the Truxtun (DDG-103). The most recent briefings that are available on the internet show the HED as not an option on the DDG-51 Flt III. In my mind this is a mistake.

    • PolicyWonk

      Couldn’t agree more!

      There’s no good reason to exclude the class from being electric drive equipped – which would add a lot of value (and persistence, range, etc.) to these fine ships.

      • Curtis Conway

        The last report I got was the electric motors were larger than the space budget in the space available, mostly length I think. A new motor design that is shorter and larger in diameter, which is very possible, was the solution. I will anxiously await the announcement of this development and test of that item at the Land Base Test Site.

        Of all in the BMD capable DDG-51 class vessels, who will be steaming in a box, or patrolling in limited specific areas for long periods, the HED would provide the greatest advantage. Anything to stretch out the UNREP/CONREP visits.

        • PolicyWonk

          I see – and suppose the space (and weight) associated with a hybrid approach is going to be a balancing act.

          At least the DDG-51’s have some room for growth, unlike other vessels being added to the inventory.

          On another topic, recently took a ride up to Bath (BIW) to have a look at the Zumwalt, which is being prepared for sea trials. I am most anxious w/r/t how well she’ll perform…

          • Curtis Conway

            Looking forward to seeing the numbers and stats. They need to go to the West Coast as soon as available. I am also interested in how well the first two superstructures perform compared to #3. Never did see the fire test for #1 & 2.

          • Curtis Conway

            The most prevalent comment I have seen about DDG-51 and upgrades is just how limiting space and weight is to accommodate said upgrades. The platform is chocked full of everything. That is why it is, ton-for-ton, one of the most effective and deadly surface combatant platforms in the fleet. My little ‘Aegis Guided Missile Frigate’ [Facebook page] idea is to repeat that design criteria in something at about 5,000 tons of displacement.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conwat.

            Just to let you Know, but South Korea is thinking about Opting-Out of their Participation in the F-35 JSF Program. Lockheed-Martin, was suppose to transfer Four Key Technologies to South Korea and NOW they Refuse too…

          • Curtis Conway

            Was it export control act stuff or technologies all the other players received?

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            According to the article, once a Current Level of Interest and Confirmed Order were In-Place. Technology was suppose to be “Piece-Mealed” to the Buyer’s. Goal’s were met, but Lockheed-Martin refuses to transfer the Specified Technologies. The US Government is Investigating, because Technically the JSF Program belong’s to them and NOT Lockheed-Martin…

          • Curtis Conway

            Yep . . .GFE!

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            BAe is the Largest Defense Contractor to the USA, and the Type 26 can also be Built in the USA. Also Consider the Lend Lease Act of March 1941, it was a 99-year term lease Act which doesn’t expire until March 2040. So technically Ship’s from ALL British Royal Navy Ship’s and British Commonwealth Naval Ship’s Existing in March 1941. Like Canada, India, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, and so on, are covered in the Act. We can get Ship’s Built and Repaired from anyone of these/those Nations, As long as they are willing to Honor the Lend Lease Act of March 1941. That’s 24-years from expiring, We Should Make GOOD USE of those 24-years…

          • Curtis Conway

            Perhaps we should look at the new UK Type Frigate just install American equipment.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            The Strike Length sub-class version, already outfitted with: Mk.41 VLS, Tomahawk, Asroc, LRASM, Mk.45 5-inch/62-caliber Deck Gun, Phalanx, Miniguns and BHMG. So that leaves: Communications, Navigation, Helicopters and Possibly Propulsion. But is also HED, with a single Rolls-Royce MT-30 Gas-Turbine and two Diesel Engines. Speed is ~28-knots maximum and 7,000nmi. range @ 15-knots, with a crew of ~120 (and ~200 maximum)…

          • Curtis Conway

            Sounds pretty good. not crazy about the MT30 but I guess that is the new standard. I would use an LM2500 derivative. We could upgrade propulsion, and power generation / distribution to the new IFTPS standard and put on Directed Energy when available, perhaps even backfit that Railgun in the 5″ deck spot form factor.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Both the Zumwalt and Freedom, are equipped with the MT30’s…

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            One thing the Type 26 Frigate and the Continental Navy Sailing Frigate USS. Constitution, have in common Curtis. Their BOTH “Heavy Frigates”, the type 26 is 6,500-tons light and 8,500-tons gross. Maybe that’s a “Good Omen”…

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            In case you haven’t heard. In AW&ST, the US. Navy has decided, NOT to deploy either the Wasp or America as Light Carrier’s. Their reason was that the Air Wing was just to SMALL to make any difference…

          • Curtis Conway

            I’ve seen the writings. They look at the fact that two key mission sets are not on board (AEW&C and Electronic Attack), and the combat load of the F-35B (carried internal in stealth mode). The synergistic affect of the F-35 Combat System, and that multiplied by a subset of 20 F-35B aircraft in the air at any one time, are the factors. These same folks think sending an ARG with the average MAGTF is OK in a pinch with its 6 AV-8B Harrier IIs and all the rotary wing assets. I guess the Harrier’s internal gun is the determining factor (tongue in cheek). We have sufficient CVNs (and will continue in the future), and Carrier Air Wings to meet current tasking for the most part.

            I would make the case for bringing back the Reserve Air Wing that was truncated some time ago, and making that airwing a composite airwing including F-35Bs, F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, and EA-18G Growlers. We would introduce/develop Gen 6 implementation tactics in this environment.

            If the general wisdom is to retain 10 CVNs for the foreseeable future, and the mission set for GWOT is slated to increase . . . and aviation continues (nigh on grow as) a facilitating asset for mission success, then the need a growing need for air support and services from the large deck aviation platforms would be a logical conclusion. Every upgrade of our amphibs seems to reflect this conclusion. The US Navy seems to be “on a River in Egypt” about the aviation force mix that is likely to cover the greatest contingencies pursuant to being successful the greatest percentage of the time. Increased aviation support of the sort embodied in the F-35 Combat System is the compelling technology, with its unique capabilities within the context of future growing GWOT support.

            As for the 50+ Aegis Guided Missile Frigate argument, the DDG-51s are the obvious (and most costly) choice for maximum combat capability being present in the greatest number of areas of interest (e.g., highest probability of success). Most of the time it is overkill. However, given the proliferation of Tactical Ballistic Missiles, and the defense thereof being required for survival in greater areas of the planet that are growing rapidly, a smaller, less expensive yet very capable alternative, that possesses a TBMD capability, should be available in the future.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Huntington-Ingalls Patrol Frigate design is Based on the USCG’s “National Security Cutter”, with increased tonnage of ~4,600-tons and sports a Oto Melara 3-inch (76.2x636mmR/62-caliber) Super-Rapid Autocannon. Overall Dimension are about the Same as the NSC. Pictures can be found at Defense Media Network . com…

          • Curtis Conway

            Very familiar with the design. My opinion is they don’t go far enough, but it is designed to cost. Needs a 5″ vice 76mm, HED, and VLS cells forward (16) and VLS cells aft in place of a sacrificed helo hangar. Modify the superstructure and place the 9-module AMDR AN/APY-6(v) and you have something that can defend against Tactical Ballistic Missiles and everything below that. This is what the LCS should have been. Then make it the introduction platform for Directed Energy Weapons, and have a very capable Passive detection, tracking, designation and control sensor system. The United States Navy needs 50+ Aegis Guided Missile Frigates and more.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            At least we know what Two of the Competitor’s Huntington-Ingalls and Lockheed-Martin designs are. There are at least Four More in the Competition, BAe plus Three Unknown…

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  • KellyJ

    This will make the ships compliant with California Emissions Standards.

    • Curtis Conway

      LOL!!! The last reason we would modify any US Naval Combatant!

    • And I’m sure it will also improve the Navy’s sailor retention rate. Instead of 8 days without seeing civilization, they’ll go 10.5. Who wouldn’t reenlist for that?

  • Mark Thomason

    This was commonly done on Germany U-Boats during WW2. It did increase range considerably. One engine drove one shaft, and the combined generator/motor unit on that shaft sent electric power to the unit on the other shaft. Thus, one engine ran both shafts, one by direct drive, and one by Diesel-electric drive. It is not a new idea, and it is proven.

    • Secundius

      @ Mark Thomason.

      Actually, the First Diesel-Electric Submarine. Wasn’t introduced by the Nazi-Germany Kriegsmarine until 1943, and less than 120 were built. Too Little, Too Late to make a Difference…

  • AncientSubHunter

    “NAVSEA began investigating the HED concept for destroyers around 2008, when oil prices were at $174 a barrel…”

    Wise.

    Now, with a barrel of crude at $44 and some change for the moment, let’s hope that NAVSEA expresses similar wisdom and plays the fuel hedging game by building new storage tanks and purchasing as much as possible at these prices “while they last.”

    Sadly, infrastructure (and wisdom, for that matter) isn’t sexy in today’s environment.

    • NavySubNuke

      If only things were that simple. If I remember correctly DLA buys all of the fuel for DoD and they in turn sell it to the services at whatever their cost was plus the cost of operating the fuel program.
      While the Navy on its own might (and that is a pretty big might) be smart enough to recognize market conditions allow it to hedge I don’t have nearly that same faith in DLA. If anything they are still trying to sell the fuel they stocked up on back when oil was $148 barrel since we were at peak oil and about to run out or some other liberal falsehood.

      • charlesjordan

        Since when has the different agencies become sole proprietors of fuel? This is one government and as soon as those running it realize that, things will run a whole lot better.

        • NavySubNuke

          If there has ever been a single fuel buyer for the entire federal government I am not aware of it – was this something that was done in the past?

      • AncientSubHunter

        Too true, Sub…wisdom has never been a collectives’ strong point.

        I wasn’t aware of the procurement procedures but knew they weren’t efficient, economical and simple.

        Back in my day, we would fly “cross countries” at the end of the month to ensure we expended at least the same amount of fuel we expended the previous month to ensure we didn’t have our fuel budget cut.

        Great benefit for a young crew…great example of the Nav’s fiscal irresponsibility.

        • NavySubNuke

          Oh yeah – same thing on the boat except it was driven by fiscal year —- you have to love the kinds of things you can get the ship to by you in August/Sept vs. Nov/Dec —- because God forbid there is any money left. Only the government would be dumb enough to punish people for not spending their money.

  • charlesjordan

    The cost of fuel is going downward, so this might be a good forward thought. The future cost could go up, who knows…however, right now the cost is greatly reducing

  • Bill

    Excuse my ignorance, but will the gas turbines drive a generator that powers the electric motor. There are no batteries as on a sub, are there?

    • Secundius

      @ Bill.

      The Electric Motor, is Replacing the Transmission on the ship. So the motor turns at a Constant Speed, allowing you to control the ship’s speed through Control-Pitch of the Wheel/Ship’s Screw. Icebreaker’s have doing the Same Thing for Decades…

    • USNVO

      No batteries. The existing gas turbine generators and electrical system will be able to drive an electric motor on the reduction gear when the ship is loitering at slow speeds. The main propulsion turbines, LM-2500s, will still drive the reduction gear via a direct connection, they will just be decoupled when the electric motor is engaged. So you either have slow speed motors being driven by the generators or the main turbines turning like they do now. Think of it as adding the capability to drive the ship by electrical power at slow speed, everything else is exactly the same.

      • Bill

        Thanks!

      • Secundius

        @ USNVO.

        The Rolls Royce/General Electric LM2500 Gas-Turbines are going to be replaced with the Rolls Royce/Allison T-56/501-K34 Gas-Turbines normally found on the Lockheed-Martin C-130J Hercules…

        • USNVO

          Only figuratively, the LM-2500s will still be there and work exactly the same. The existing 501k SSGTGs will work exactly the same as well, there will just be two new electrical motors that can drive the shafts at slow speed.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            I stand corrected to you SIR, in a Buried Memo of the New Engine Room Configuration. It didn’t list the Rolls Royce/General Electric LM2500 Gas Turbines. The Construction Manifest DOES. But ALL Three Sub-Classes of the Arleigh Burke class Destroyer, does mention a Superstructure Modification of Hanger Facilities for at least TWO Sikorsky MM-60R Helicopters and/or Fire Scouts Drone Helicopters. And Mk. 41 VLS to be replaced with Mk. 57 VLS, because the Mk. 41’s were deemed UNSAFE…

        • CapeMorgan

          Every time you say that there is a gas turbine on a C-130J people cringe.

          • Secundius

            @ CapeMorgan.

            Just Exactly what do you THINK a TurboProp IS…

          • CapeMorgan

            LOL. Enough to know that you are clueless. Use Google for pete’s sake and learn something.

          • Secundius

            @ CapeMorgan.

            On a TurboProp the Device Between the Propeller and the Gas-Turbine is a Reduction Gear Box (aka Transmission). It Limits the amount of RAW POWER being transmitted to the Propellers…

    • Curtis Conway

      LM2500s provide propulsion connected to the Main Reduction Gears (MRG). There are three 501Ks that provide electrical power, any one of which will carry the load. Adding the HED to the MRG adds an electric drive option for the ship when operating in a 4-W Grid for example (steaming in a small area at slower speeds). One of the other two generators is usually running anyway as the standby backup, and the exhaust just goes out the stack while the generator does basically nothing. this will permit propulsion at slower speeds which the ship does about 60-80% of the time. the LM2500s are still there for when the ship needs to go at the Speed of Heat (30+ knots).

      • Bill

        So to take it farther, am I correct that the generators run on the same fuel as the turbines? And that the turbines can be fired up quickly in emergency? The whole idea seems very promising.

        • Secundius

          @ Bill.

          On a Non-Nuclear Powered Ship, it’s usually Aviation Grade JP-8 Fuel. That way any Aircraft operating from the ship, can use the same Fuel Source. New Diesel Generator’s can also run a JP-8 Fuel…

          • USNVO

            Sorry, not true. All ships boilers, diesels or gas turbines normally use DFM, Distillate Fuel Marine also known as F-76 in NATO or Diesel 2 in the civilian world. It’s a diesel based fuel. The standard aviation fuel is JP-5 or F-44 in NATO, which is roughly the same as JP-4 or JP-8 but with a higher flash point, think Jet-A/A1 but with some other additives. It’s a kerosene based fuel. Although you can downgrade JP-5 into DFM, it burns fine in diesels or shipboard turbines and actually cleans out your fuel system, as soon as it goes into the non-aviation fuel system, it is forever DFM and can’t be used in aircraft. Only JP-5 from the aviation fuel system can be used in aircraft, sometimes not even then if it gets contaminated. Bulk JP-5 can go either way, so all the propositioning ships carry JP-5, but all the oilers carry both DFM and JP-5 and unless they have to they never change what’s in the JP-5 tanks as there is extensive cleaning required for recertification of the JP-5 tanks. DFM is way cheaper by the way. The army normally runs everything on JP-8, but the Navy does it differently.

          • Curtis Conway

            Thanks for the clarification. I haven’t been in uniform since ’97, and not aboard ship since ’92. At one point I saw a push for DoD to use JP-8. We always burned DFM on Tico. The helos always burned JP-5, and they always got a Bottom Water and Sediment sample before they accepted fuel, even during HIFR.

        • Curtis Conway

          Every Aegis platform (cruiser or destroyer) has (for the most part) identical propulsion / power generation capabilities and equipment. All Gas Turbines run on the fuel on board, and yes that can be the same fuel and usually is. Powering a ship on JP-8 gets a bit expensive, but that level of performance for aircraft cannot be compromised with the enhanced safety of life risk requirement.

          As stated one 3 Megawatt 501K (and the new 4 Megawatt Ships Service Gas Turbine Generator (SSGTG) replacement) will carry ships load until you go to GQ. Even under normal steaming the standby unit usually is running to provide power in the event of and emergency. This energy is wasted and could be used for propulsion.

          There is a US Navy Program to develop an on board UPS basically to provide the capacity to handle ships electrical load (for about two minutes) until the standby SSGTG can spin up and be on line which takes about 90 seconds when appropriately configured, and that little exercise happens in accordance to plan. This efficient operation is determined by maintenance of the engineering equipment, appropriate configuration, and the engineering crew is appropriately exercised and demonstrate competency in these operational disciplines. If I remember correctly this can be configured to happen automatically. So you see the navy has a plan. Let see if it comes to fruition.

          • Bill

            Most informative. Thanks to all who answered.

          • USNVO

            I believe the point of the UPS is to allow one generator operations as a normal thing, allowing more efficient use of the generators. Usually, although a ship can run on one generator, they operate two generators in paralleled to provide redundancy and keep the lights on in the event of a problem with one generator. As a result, you have two lightly loaded generators running all the time which is wasteful of fuel on a GTG and causes mechanical issues on SSDGs. Both work best nearer to 70-80pct or so of full load although for different reasons. An shipboard UPS would provides the ability to regularly operate on one generator without going dark in the event of a casualty (or forgetting to refill the service tank, opening the wrong breaker, accidentally hitting the manual fuel shutoff, or any of the other myriad of human errors that happen). At lower speeds when you are using the electric drive, you would need two generators anyway but an UPS
            would also help mitigate against electrical problems that take down both generators at once ensuring better reliability.

      • Secundius

        @ Curtis Conway.

        The General Electric LM2500 Gas Turbine are going to be replaced with Rolls Royce/Allison T-56/501-K34 Gas-Turbines. A 1954 design, currently used on the Lockheed-Martin C-130J Hercules and using JP-5 Aviation Fuel instead…

  • publius_maximus_III

    Please explain. I can understand how a Prius can combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to save fuel. It does it through regenerative braking, whereby the energy usually lost as waste heat in the brake pads instead is stored as useful energy in the battery instead. So is that what is going on here, or something else? Is it simply that the gas turbines are not efficient at lower speeds, so instead the fuel is used to generate electricity to power the electric motors which are more efficient at lower speed. That would be similar to the diesel electric arrangement in most American locomotives.

    • USNVO

      Pretty much. The Gas Turbine is efficient at high power loads but the specific fuel consumption goes way up at slow speeds. By shutting down the main engines and running the generators harder to power electric motors, you get better efficiency. Very similar to the LHD-8 drive system of gas turbines and electric motors, although it doesn’t sound like the two propulsion systems would every be used together as the situation will clearly favor one or the other.

      • publius_maximus_III

        So, as if a destroyer skipper didn’t already have enough things to worry about, now he has to watch his fuel consumption….

        • USNVO

          Not a SWO I take it! Every CO, well outside of nuclear ships, worries about fuel all the time. This will make his/her life much easier, so when you don’t need to go fast, they can use less fuel which translates into more time on station or less time alongside an Oiler. What’s not to like?

          • publius_maximus_III

            Ah-so, makes sense. No, just a low life civilian, as stated in my Disqus profile (click on my handle).

          • USNVO

            No such thing as low life civilians as they pay for all the toys! What is really a pain is to have the type commander watch every drop that is burned when you get down to the end of the fiscal year and changing the schedule because they ran out of fuel (figuratively of course since DESC is a non-appropriated agency, a better way to put it would be ran out of money to pay for fuel). For whatever reason, this used to be a SURFLANT thing more than a SURFPAC thing. Now that is something the CO and everybody else on the ship and in the chain of command could do without! Long ago, although it may still be a requirement, COs had to ask permission to use excess SOA (speed of advance) even if the person they requested excess SOA from was the person who ordered them to be somewhere at a specific time!

      • Secundius

        @ USNVO.

        The LHD-8, will retain the General Electric LM2500 Gas-Turbines and using F-76 Diesel Fuel. There are NO PLANS to upgrade to the HED-GTG Engine Configuration at this time, if EVER…

        • Michael

          That’s not what was said. LHD 8 has the HED already installed. That’s how it was built

          • Secundius

            @ Michael.

            I stand corrected, but the Makin Island is not scheduled to receive the Rolls Royce/Allison T56/501-K34 Gas-Turbines…

          • USNVO

            True, both LHD-8 and the new LHA-6 class have the “hybrid” drive, but they use diesel generators and they will never change to gas turbines generators. But outside of the fact that the DDGs will have two gas turbines and one electric drive motor per shaft and the LHD-8/LHA-6 have one bigger gas big turbine and an electric motor per shaft, the propulsion systems are similar.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            Just in case you didn’t read about it yet, the US Navy has decided NOT to use Either the Wasp or America class a Light Carrier’s. Their Reason was that Air Wing Was To Small for any Useful Deployment. Sorry, that was in AW&ST…

  • John Nemitz

    Why install HED solely on the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers? If the system works for ships that utilize gas turbine engines , such as the DDG-51 class, then it should work for other classes of ships that use gas turbine engines as well, and possible others. I believe that this article should have made mention of the possibility of expanding the program to other ship classes, even those which do not use gas turbine engines.

    • Michael

      Probably just a pilot program. FFG’s are being phased out, and nobody knows how much longer CG’s are going to be around. DDG’s still have a good 30 years or more
      For other ships that don’t use Gas Turbine engines, the ones that use diesel are already running at their most efficient configuration at low speeds. The HED would still have to draw power from their generators, which won’t be operating at their most effective speeds. Diesel engines are much more fuel efficient at the low speeds at which they operate.

      • USNVO

        Plus no other Navy ships use main propulsion gas turbine engines outside of National Security Cutters and LCS, and they already have MPDEs for slower speeds. Something similar may make sense for the LX if they go to a single main per shaft, just to avoid running the main engines for extended times at extremely slow speeds and provide redundancy. As new ships adopt integrated electric drive, this problem goes away.

  • Frank Langham

    Extend Time-On-Station by ONLY 2.5 days ? … And the program that costs 50 million dollars will save how much in fuel costs (~at $80 per barrel) ? … Finally, during actual emergency battle-stations, how long would it take for a ship to select and apply FULL turbine battle-drive, when it had been cruising on HED just before the Captain ordered FLANK SPEED. … To restate the question: When a ship comes under attack, while cruising on HED, how long would it take for the propeller shafts to reach FLANK SPEED, under full turbine power, once the order is given ?

    • Secundius

      @ Frank Langham.

      At 13-knots, the Arleigh Burke class Destroyer. Regular steaming time using the Rolls Royce/General Electric LM2500 Gas-Turbines is ~7-days between refueling. With the New (Old design) Rolls Royce/Allison T-56/501-K34 Gas-Turbine Engines will extend steaming time to ~9.5 to 10-days between refueling. The Rolls Royce/Allison T-56/501-K34 Gas-Turbine are a 1954 design which is used on the C-130J Hercules and JP-5 Aviation Fuel is going to be used…

      • CapeMorgan

        C-130J’s have never had gas turbines installed. They are turbo prop aircraft. Huge difference. You need to check the difference between a turbo prop and a gas turbine.

    • Michael

      Your questions is irrelevant. That never happens. Ships steam at 3 knots on one engine at night to comply with the international rules of the road. They are not designed to go from that speed to full power.
      Even if that did happen (which it doesn’t), on a normal gas turbine drive, you have to bring all engines online to make max speed. Going from HED to full power wouldn’t add any time at all since the other engines would be on standby.

      Also, on-station time is 7 days. 2.5 days on top of that is substantial

      Also, steaming at 3 knots burns something like a few THOUSAND gallons of fuel per hour.

      • USNVO

        Plus, when you are in an area where attack is possible, or where you may need more speed like with a CSG, you simply don’t use the electric drive. But if you are just poking around in the OPAREA training, or loitering on BMD duties, or just ISE, you can save a fortune. That is huge, even at $40 a barrel.

      • Secundius

        @ Michael.

        Consider what you asking the Ship’s Propulsion System to do. You’re moving ~9,800-tons of Ship and another 5,000 to 6,000-tons of Sea-Water, At least 20-feet of the Ship extends below the “water-line”. All that water, also has to be displaced while moving. Sea-Water is ~784.3137255-TIMES Denser than the Surround “Air”. And the Faster you go, the More Water you’re Trying to Displace…

    • Secundius

      @ Frank Langham.

      The Ship’s Wheel/Screw Shafts are Turning at a “Constant Speed” with the Electric Motor. To increase speed, only the “Pitch” of the Wheels/Screws are required to either Slow Down or Speed Up the Ship…

      • Frank Langham

        OH … I think I know the source of my confusion … Is the HED the ONLY drive to be used on the upgraded ships or was the upgrade a DUAL DRIVE where the traditional turbine takes over at higher speed ? … I was assuming that BOTH drives would be in use, on the same ship, with the HED used ONLY for the SLOWER cruise speed … D’OH ! … Now it seems as if the HED is to replace the Legacy turbine entirely ? … Derp !

  • Frank Langham

    (See Previous Comment) … In a nutshell, given the costs and the “likely” costs of fuel and operations, will this program pay for itself ? … Is it really worth the cost and the time off-station ? … How will this effect our readiness, in terms of availability and in terms of emergency battle performance of any given ship, if attacked while HED is engaged ?

  • Rob C.

    Thats good their making progress, however is that going be enough electrical power to power newer weapon systems? Its not going be the same as Zumwalts who are slated to have power grid that can generate signification power increase to they can handle Rail Guns and lasers etc. Hoperfully, Zumwalt experiment will work out future designs will incorporate their innovations like Seawolf did for the Virginia-Cass

    • michael

      It’s slightly different than the Zumwalt. The Zumwalt class is built with an integrated power system, which means that the props are driven by electric motor all the time. These motors are rated for the speeds they want the ship to move. The power comes from the gas turbine generators
      In this system, it basically adds a similar idea to the shafts, by including an electric motor rated for low speeds. This allows more efficient steaming by taking power from the existing power plant. There will not be any change to the ship’s power production systems.

  • Secundius

    Arleigh Burke Destroyer, HED upgrade calls for Two-Ship’s to be Modified in 2016. And Four-Ship’s per Year after that, but a more Realistic View is Three-Ship’s per Year starting 2017…

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    I remember a lot of talk about pod drives for warships. I know they are being used on civilian ships. Are any being used military applications

    • Secundius

      @ Sailboater.

      The Australian Canberra class Gator-Freighters and Spanish Juan Carlos I class Gator-Freighters, each mount a “Mermaid” Propulsion Nacelle. There are a few Azipods as well, but I forgot what Navies their in…