US Navy scuttles plans to convert gas-guzzling destroyers into hybrids
The new focus is on weapons of war instead of green justice endeavors.
The US Navy under President Donald Trump is reversing course on Obama-era climate change policies imposed on the nation’s military.
Today’s rollback hits plans to hybridize naval destroyers.
The Navy is canceling a program to install fuel-efficient hybrid electric drives in 34 destroyers, leaving only one destroyer with the technology, the Navy confirmed in a statement.
Citing “department priorities,” the service requested $6.3 million for 2018 to finish the installation on the destroyer Truxtun, but has zeroed out funding in 2019 and in the out years. The service has spent about $52 million on the program to date. The whole program was expected to cost $356.25 million, according to the Navy’s FY2017 budget submission.
“Based on the Department’s priorities, President’s Budget 2019 removes funding from Hybrid Electric Drive program in FY 2019,” said Lt. Lauren Chatmas in a statement. “There are no further procurements or installations planned beyond DDG-103 in the Future Years Defense Program.”
Part of the reason for the shift in priorities was the numerous problems switching to a hybrid system, which were apparent when the pure electric power source was used to power the ship’s, shaft, radar system, and other essential pieces of equipment used on naval vessels.
The main issue was the intense electrical load that running the drive system on the ship’s two running generators was putting on the ship.
‘At that point you are a light switch flipping on away from winking out the whole ship,’ the official said.
Here is how the hybrid system was originally promoted:
Unexpectedly, it was determined that the fuel efficiency achieved was not as quite as significant as advertised.
Instead of squandering money on questionably useful projects, the Navy is now looking new weapons options, such as railgun technology. A railgun uses electromagnetic force to launch high-velocity projectiles; the projectile normally does not contain explosives as they use high speed to inflict damage.
Military.com reports that Admiral John Richardson told the House Appropriations subcommittee that the US Navy is fully invested in railgun and is continuing tests.
The railgun tests demonstrated it at lower firing rates and … shorter ranges. Now the US Navy is working on the engineering to increase the firing rates and the 80- to 100-mile range.
Richardson indicated the weapon had yet to reach that range in spite of predictions.
“That involves a number of technologies,” he said. “The barrel itself is probably the limiting case, the engineering on that, the materials required to sustain that power pulse, and the heat and pressure that’s involved in launching those projectiles. And we’re doubling down on that.”
…The US Navy brass were “very conscious” of reported Chinese achievements in railgun technology.
Recent developments with North Korea show that the “Peace through Strength” approach seems to be the most effective. Therefore, it is heartening to report that the US military under President Trump refocuses policies on the weapons of war instead of green justice endeavors.
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They found out that Prius battery didn’t give’em the range they expected.
“Hybrid” in this context had nothing to do with “green”. And it was a sound impulse, if not a great engineering plan.
All new navy ships will be electric, but they’ll be designed to be from a blank page. They will have immense power generators that will run the ship and its weapons systems.
“Immense power generators”
You mean like those clean emission nuclear power plants that have been powering 80 navy vessels like aircraft carriers, subs, and cruisers for decades and that we have over 6,000 reactor years of incident-free experience with ? That use good old-fashioned proven steam turbines to drive the propellers?
Nah, bro, let’s create a Navy fleet of Nissan Leafs. What could possibly go wrong.
(I’m just kidding around … if someone wants to point me towards a serious article – not an Obama-loving greenie piece of nonsense – of why we want an all-electric Navy and how we power it without windmills, I am all ears)
The idea to go to electric drive (much like most cruise ships nowadays) is the flexibility it provides, if not the efficiency. This would be less efficient as there would be significant energy loss transferring mechanical power to electrical and back again.
The flexibility afforded would be to divert power from propulsion to weapons and back again as needed. There’s also significant design flexibility in that you no longer have to design your engineering spaces around long (fast) spinning shafts and their support structures.
Lots of marine vessels use electric propulsion now. Cruse ships are an example. But others are any type of ship where precise positioning is important.
But to your question…
Hey, I learned something today. I never really thought about how cruise ships propulsed. Interesting how the systems are redundant and split so damage on one doesn’t put any of the others out, and it can still function perfectly fine on just half of the engines.
That’s the kind of overengineering that has to be done for a warship, too. The Truxtun retrofit just isn’t robust enough.
The “all electric” on ships like the Zumwalt refers to the drive system, but not to the actual source of power. The generators which keep the batteries charged are still driven by gas-turbine engines which usually burn diesel. That’s whey this “hybrid conversion” of the Truxton didn’t really work – the plan involved running the gas-turbine engines full time to keep full power on the generators to power the increased electric load, since they were now tasked with doing propulsion as well – but it was more efficient, on that design, to just go on using the gas turbine engines to run the propulsion driveshafts. They didn’t account for the loss of efficiency after the change, which is why they didn’t get the results the engineers expected.
Now new ships will be built with electric driveshafts from the start, which reduces gearing, etc, which is supposed to reduce weight. Battery capacity massively increased. So in other words the Huge New Innovation is basically what diesel-electric locomotives have been doing for 80 odd years. (that’s a rough approximation to convey the general idea)
Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Obama-era plan was to use a 2,000 mile long extension cord.
I don’t find any reference to “battery” on the Zumwalt, unless you refer to missals.
Missals? To the best of my knowledge Zumwalt was not Catholic.
Interesting. I’ve worked – recently – on that ship, with the engineering department, and this is the first I’ve heard of this.
I know NAVSEA has all these huge brains, but even *I* (22-year retired Senior Chief Fire Controlman) could have told them that they were pushing the envelope with the existing generators here.
I can see how this may work, at slow speeds in specific circumstances, but the expense is probably not worth it. It would take more capable generators to even work marginally as a retrofit. Something like this has to be designed in from day one, like in DDG-1000. Which had and has it’s own teething problems.
At least they can use this as the “build a little, test a little, learn a lot” demonstrator.
There are many interesting considerations here which come from both the pleasure yacht, commercial fishing, and cruise industries. As is, current destroyers use a gas generator to drive a turbine which is then geared to the shaft and propeller. This requires a direct mechanical linkage. It is the most power efficient but that also assumes one is driving the system at the upper limits of the turbine. Also, each turbine is connected to a propeller, so they both need to be running when the boat is moving. In contrast, the turbines are instead hooked to large generators, which then power electric motors connected to the propellers. The main advantage here is that one turbine can be driven full-on at maximum efficiency with the electric output split between the two electric motors for a normal cruise mode. The batteries here, I imagine, are of limited significance, though it also means that the normal diesel generators are either eliminated or reduced since the main system is now providing the electric energy.
Cruise ships went hybrid because their energy needs took wide swings during the day. Imagine the generator to power 1500 hair dryers at once in the morning, and then that load need drops to nothing. The cruise ships use large electric motors in pods underneath the ship which can swivel 360 degrees to aid maneuverability. This also frees up space in the boat for more passengers/cargo, and the power generator equipment can be better isolated for more noise reduction.
Some pleasure yachts are going hybrid for similar reasons as cruise ships, such as noise isolation, better layout ergonomics, and the ability to integrate solar panels, batteries, and a generator as the means to provide both power and domestic needs.
So it isn’t a matter of whether hybrid is good or bad, but whether it is appropriate for the task. Back in the 50’s GE built about 50 gas turbine locomotives for the long runs out west. They packed about twice the power of a standard diesel at the time, but were phenomenally loud. Think of them as the Concorde of trains.
I did an investigation for an invention I was working on a few decades ago, and was surprised to learn that internal combustion engines are a lot more fuel efficient that gas turbines, at least in that application.
That’s one reason they’ve never been adopted by the trucking industry.
Wars and combat put an entirely different set of criteria into play. Sometimes the old tried and true beats the latest greatest. Lasers and rail guns are great IF they work all the time.
Electric drive is considerably different from an all-electric power system.
Electric drive has been used for decades in diesel-electric locomotives, for example. It is more efficient than direct mechanical drives. But, it does not rely upon batteries to power the vehicle.
An all electric system, the total electrical system being driven solely upon battery power, is incredibly inefficient. The reason is simply that the battery does not produce power, it only stores it. This is why the US navy switched to nuclear power submarines, from the old diesel-electric boats.
So, unless fuel for the generator engine is unavailable, or in short supply, you are much better off running a system which relies upon nuclear or chemical power plants to produce electrical power, which is fed directly to the drive motors and other systems, with a small battery back-up for use during system failures.
Hey, I have a wacky idea, instead of using the military to push ideological agendas, gender, SJW, climate hoax, lets use our money to pay for training, equipping and developing the best new equipment for our warfighters. My son is going to Afghanistan in December. I don’t give a cr*p if his Humvee uses recycled french fry oil. I just want it run when it should, that his rifle works and he has ammunition that has the best terminal ballistics on the Taliban possible (in other words I don’t give a **** if it is environmentally friendly). I also don’t want him teamed up with some 5 foot 90 pound girl that lacks the strength to drag him out of the line of fire if he is wounded. War doesn’t care about political correctness.
Holy shit, if I could I’d hand a piece of candy to all the kids on the playground today. Everybody played nice, and nobody got their feeling hurt.
Plant a nuclear reactor and go green without sacrificing the baby.
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Spending this type of money on an experiment for the Navy when ≈60% of their FA-18 aircraft are unable to fly due to a lack of funding for maintenance? Lets hope it changes and soon.
Even if they had the $$ to get 90+% of the fleet flying again, they don’t have the man power and even if they had the manpower, it would take a minimum of two years to get to that level but only if they had the $$ and manpower right now.
But, hey, if we can be green, lets do that instead.
if solar wind is good ’nuff fer NASA, it’s gud ’nuff for gud ship lolipop – let’s send all the SJWs, starting with Red Bernie on a ship of fools.
meals provided by Pocahontas and pantsuit – Michelle can bring green friendly anti toxins.
I am so happy DJT won and is dismantelling zero’s attempts to destroy america
When obama wasn’t busy betraying our country, he was being a fool of trudeau-like proportions.
Oftentimes, he was being both.
And yet, someone thought this was a good idea. We need to find that person and fire them.