All-electric stealth destroyer takes to the seas
The USS Zumwalt is the U.S. Navy’s largest and most advanced multi-mission stealth destroyer and it is all-electric. It is estimated that the 610-foot, 15,600-ton vessel, which carries multiple GE technologies, can hit a target at a range of more than 60 miles. Built at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine, its wave-piercing tumblehome design and unique superstructure also make it less visible to enemy radar at sea.
Below deck, traditional gas turbines driving controllable pitch propellers through complex gearboxes have been replaced by an on-board 78-megawatt power station supplying electricity to an advanced integrated power system (IPS). This ‘innovative and highly survivable’ system was designed by GE Marine. It powers giant GE induction motors connected directly to the propeller shafts and routes electricity to a vast array of sensors, weapons, radar and other critical systems on board. GE said it could free up as much as 80 per cent of the ship’s power that used to be dedicated to propulsion by getting rid of the gearbox. The captain can now send it wherever it’s needed.
The first of its kind
As a result, the ship will have nearly 10 times more available power than its predecessors. The Zumwalt could become the first ship carrying next-generation weapons such as electromagnetic railguns, which use a strong electromagnetic pulse, rather than gunpowder. In an interview for GE Reports, GE Power Converstion Naval Accounts Director Adam Kabulski said: ‘We’re no longer restricting the engines to provide propulsion power only. This design allows you to send electric power wherever you need it. You can access many megawatts in a short amount of time and convert it into energy. It’s instantaneous.’
Instead of the typical three-phase motors, the Zumwalt’s advanced induction motors have 15 phases. Kabulski said that by simply reversing the direction of the rotating magnetic field in the motor, for example, the shaft can turn in the opposite direction to give astern power. ‘The design is innovative, being smaller and quieter than traditional motors, and also highly survivable,’ he said.
GE Marine technology is also operating on board the USS Makin Island, the Navy’s first hybrid-propelled ship. Similar technology also runs inside the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer-class ships and numerous offshore, passenger and cruise vessels, including the Queen Mary 2.
Click here to read the original article on GE Reports.