$32.7M to General Atomics for DDG-51 Propulsion System Prototype
General Atomics in San Diego, CA won a $32.7 million not-to-exceed, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development of a prototype hybrid electric drive (HED) system on DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers. Under the contract, General Atomics intends to demonstrate the capability for significant fuel savings by incorporating advanced electric machine technology.
General Atomics will perform the work in San Diego, CA (50%); Milwaukee, WI (24%), and Hudson, MA (26%), and expects to complete it by June 2014. This contract was competitively procured under a Broad Agency Announcement, with 23 offers received by the Naval Sea Systems Command at the Washington Navy Yard, DC (N00024-09-C-4222).
DID has more on DDG-51 improvements and the troubles with the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer program that are prompting the U.S. Navy to look at beefing up the DDG-51…
During July 31/08 testimony [pdf] before a House Armed Services Committee panel, Congressional Research Service naval analyst Ron O’Rourke said that adding hybrid electric drive to the DDG-51’s traditional mechanical-drive propulsion could reduce fuel use by about
16%. Reducing DDG-51 fuel use by this amount would reduce the ship’s annual operating (steaming) cost from $15.7 million to about $13.2 million, O’Rourke said.
The effort to beef up the DDG-51 class is part of the U.S. Navy search for alternatives to the next-generation DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer, which has lots of bells and whistles but has a hefty price tag that keeps growing. In an effort to fill in the capabilities gap likely to be left from cuts in the DDG-1000 program, the Navy is looking at giving the DDG-51 fleet some similar characteristics. These include potential radar and software modifications, power and cooling upgrades required to serve in a ballistic defense role, and a hybrid electric propulsion system that can produce the level of power that new electronics and long-range, ultra-high definition radars require.
At present, for instance, the DDG-51 Flight IIA ships have a reported total power output of 7.5 MW. In contrast, the DDG-1000’s integrated all-electric system can divide up to 78.0 MW of power between propulsion and power to the ship’s electronic systems.
In January 2009, Pentagon undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics John Young proposed restructuring the DDG-1000 procurement. This proposal happened in the wake of cuts that would produce only 3 DDG-1000 ships, spreading the same research dollars over fewer hulls and hence raising the accounting cost of each ship. The actual purchase cost per ship would not change, but the change in accounting costs would have triggered laws that would force the re-justification of the entire DDG-1000 program to Congress – a move that may well have triggered its cancellation. Previous Congressional action had explicitly specified additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers as a potential substitute, even as advocates in and out of Congress demanded an analysis of alternatives between DDG-1000 and “new generation” DDG-51 capabilities.
In response, Young offered the option of adding a “Future Surface Combatant” class to the DDG-1000 program, technically increasing the number of ships in the program without specifying what type they would be. It appears to be an effort to buy time, while the Navy looks at the actual cost of fielding new-build DDG-51 ships with full ballistic missile defense capabilities built in, and other key modifications.