In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the United States Navy (USN) embarked on an ambitious program to convert surface combatants from steam to gas turbine power. Navy unique engines were developed and commercial industrial engines were modified to meet the strenuous environments encountered by surface Navy ships. Ultimately, the best engines were found to be those developed from the aero-industry. However, those aero-derivative engines lacked shock hardness, vibration treatment and most importantly, they lacked the ability to survive long hours of operation in a heavy salt environment burning diesel and other poorer fuels. Those poorer fuels contained higher levels of sulfur and other chemical compounds that created a challenging environment for the aircraft engines. The aircraft engines were designed to burn much cleaner fuel with virtually no sea salt. As a result, early applications of those engines to Navy ships were disappointing. However, through aggressive materials development programs and extended endurance tests in a marine-like environment, engines including the Pratt and Whitney FT-4A and the General Electric LM2500 demonstrated themselves to be superior replacements for traditional Navy steam propulsion plants. The LM2500 eventually became the workhorse of the USN surface fleet and has proven to be an excellent engine. Nevertheless, as fuels become more costly and quality sometimes questionable, the Navy is interested in another leap forward. This leap is anticipated to again be based on aero-derivative engines, but will be focused on smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient engines that will have the capability of burning the alternative fuels of the future. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is contemplating a comprehensive program of materials developments, Phase I, which will facilitate the marinization of the highly efficient gas turbine engines being developed in various Air Force and commercial engine development programs. Marinization issues could include improving the performance of ceramic matrix composites in a marine environment and minimizing the affects of higher temperatures on disc corrosion in the final stages of the compressor and in the hot-section. A Phase II program is also contemplated that will then develop a series of engines for various future USN applications based on the results of the Phase I Program. This paper will describe the programs that are being contemplated.

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