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NAVSEA lays out roadmap for integrated power and energy systems

Warship: October 2019NESEA

Released in late June, the 2019 Naval Power and Energy Systems Technology Development Roadmap (NPES TDR) is intended to guide the development of integrated power and energy systems to meet the need of the legacy fleet, ships currently in build, and the US Navy’s Future Surface Combatant Force.


Written by the Electric Ships Office (PMS 320) within Programme Executive Office Ships, the roadmap establishes priorities to guide future research and development investments across the government, industry and academic enterprises in order to enable the US Navy to more efficiently field future capabilities. Moreover, the NPES TDR reaffirms naval propulsion and energy systems as a critical part of the ‘kill chain’.


According to Stephen Markle, PMS 320 Director and Programme Manager, the US Navy is on the cusp of a revolution in naval warfare. “Akin to the shift from guns to missiles, this revolution will take the form of high-power pulsed mission systems,” he writes in the NPES-TDR preface. “These include directed energy weapons such as lasers and stochastic electronic warfare systems, radiated energy systems such as the Air and Missile Defense Radar [AMDR], and advances in kinetic energy weapons, including electromagnetic railguns.”


But the challenge, he adds, is to enable this revolution. “Legacy power systems found on existing ships do not possess the inherent electrical ‘inertia’ to withstand the ramp-up/down (on/off), or ripple (pulsation) effects of complex power profiles of these advanced mission systems.


“These effects include excessive generator heating (thermal stress) and negative torques (mechanical stress) applied to prime movers such as diesel and gas turbine engines. Countering these harmful effects requires mitigation such as advanced controls or energy storage.”


The long-term objective is to engineer a new integrated ship-wide power and energy architecture that fully integrate all generated and stored electrical energy in the platform so that it is available to all electrical consumers, including high power weapons, advanced sensors, and electric propulsion, as mission priorities dictate.