“These ships are replacements for the Coast Guard’s
medium-endurance cutter fleet. The hybrid electric
drive technology we will be providing has a couple of
purposes for the service.
It will provide much-needed efficiency on the vessels, as they can run
on electric motors at slow speeds. Using propulsion diesel engines at slow
speeds adds significant wear and tear on the engines. By adding this system, the Coast Guard will be reducing not only fuel and maintenance
requirements, but total life-cycle costs, and increased safety for the fleet.
It will be the most efficient way for the Coast Guard to operate and complete
their missions at low rates of speed.
The system includes two of the most power-dense permanent magnet
motors on the market. They have significant advantages in size, weight,
efficiency and performance over conventional electric induction motors
and produce more torque from the same amount of supplied current. Their
smaller footprint allows greater flexibility in engine room design and
increased cargo space, and their simpler, more rugged construction results
in proven reliability and durability.
When coupled to the main propulsion gearbox, the system allows the ship
to operate quietly and efficiently during loitering operations while providing
superior fuel economy for increased on-station operations and capability.
This contract is important to us, as it’s not only our first contract with
Eastern Shipbuilding, it’s our first contract for hybrid systems in North
America. We see this as a crucial win for us.” n
Leonardo DRS Inc. announced on
April 13 that it had been awarded
a $10.7 million contract by Eastern
Shipbuilding Group Inc. to provide
hybrid electric drive systems for
the U.S. Coast Guard’s new fleet
of Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs).
Leonardo DRS will provide its
permanent magnet motor-based
Auxiliary Propulsion System for the
planned 25-ship OPC fleet. This
system gives the ship the capacity
to operate more efficiently at slower speeds, increase mission duration, reduce emissions and provide
emergency take-home capability in
the event of a failure of the main
propulsion diesel engines.
Work will be done at the DRS
Naval Power Systems facility in
Fitchburg, Mass. The contract for
the design of the vessel will be
followed by a second contract
this year for the long-lead-time
materials. The first system will be
delivered to Eastern Shipbuilding
in fiscal 2018, with the first ship
being delivered to the Coast Guard
in fiscal 2021. Leonardo DRS will
deliver one to two systems per year
for the first nine ships in the fleet.
Clive Wilgress-Pipe is director
of business development and
strategic programs for DRS
Leonardo DRS to Provide
Hybrid Electric Drive for OPCs
An artist’s rendering of the Coast Guard future Offshore Patrol Cutter.
SEAPOWER JUNE 2017