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Advanced Permanent-Magnet Propulsion

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems awarded contract for advanced permanent-magnet propulsion motor for LDUUVs

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has just awarded a contract to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) for the design and delivery of an advanced permanent-magnet propulsion motor intended for use in large displacement unmanned undersea vehicles (LDUUVs).

Over the next 18 to 20 months, GA-EMS will design and build a permanent-magnet propulsion motor, with characterisation and tests to be conducted by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL), a center of excellence supporting the US Navy and ONR for undersea propulsion modeling and testing. GA-EMS and PSU-ARL began working together on this project in 2015 when the ONR funded a year-long study to assess the operating characteristics of the motor’s design.

The permanent-magnet propulsion motor will contribute to the displacement of the ONR’s LDUUVs, a programme that seeks to develop a large unmanned submersible able to conduct missions longer than 70 days in open ocean and littoral seas. LDUUV will be launched from a pier or a variety of platforms, including the Littoral Combat Ship and the ‘Virginia’ class nuclear submarine via its payload module or an enhanced dry deck shelter. The craft’s missions will include ISR, acoustic surveillance, Anti-submarine Warfare, mine counter-measures, and offensive operations.

GA-EMS has taken a leadership role and committed significant internal resources to researching and developing new and unique electric power and energy technologies to support a variety of undersea vehicles and platforms,” stated Rolf Ziesing, Vice President of Programmes at GA-EMS. “After completing a review of our motor’s capabilities and the applicability for undersea operations, we are very excited to take the next step to design and deliver a second-generation propulsion motor to ONR for further evaluation and eventual on-vehicle testing.”

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