Abstract

Navies worldwide are increasingly considering and adopting propulsion plants with electric propulsion for cruise and ship silent operation, and gas turbines for boost propulsion for high speed. These propulsion plants, often referred to as hybrid propulsion, utilize water jets, controllable pitch propellers, or fixed pitch propellers, and have design and overall configuration to fit into naval ships with various size hulls such as would be the case with corvettes, frigates, destroyers, cruisers, etc. Therefore, size, weight, and space of the propulsion plant is important, but equally important is limiting associated machinery which must be used with a particular hybrid propulsion plant design selected.

In addition, propulsion design engineers, in conjunction with naval architects, shipyards and navies, must consider fuel efficiencies, machinery efficiencies, weight of all the associated machinery, placement in the hull, first time cost, and life cycle maintenance with associated cost when selecting the configuration of the propulsion system’s associated machinery. Manning levels are dictated by these parameters and in the end, it must be realized that the purpose of the ship mission can be compromised if reliability is not high and premature failures occur.

This paper is a more in depth analysis of hybrid propulsion systems for naval ships of various sizes, and analysis of the associate machinery emphasizing ship weight and space savings, fuel savings, cost savings, mean time between failures and mean time to repair which results in lower manning requirements and increased mission readiness.

By the time this paper is published, more than 250 SSS Clutches will be installed in US Navy Arleigh Burke Destroyers, 32 are operating in low speed propeller shafts of British Navy Type 23 ships, 2 in the Japanese Navy’s Asuka Class and 16 in low speed propeller shafts of Royal Korean Navy FFX Batch II frigates. At the time of abstract submission, all three programs referenced above have cumulatively had zero defects attributable to SSS Clutch material, function, design, or quality. While the US Navy are given occasional reminders of why alternative clutch designs remain ineffective, unreliable and remarkedly inefficient, other nations’ vertically tiered supply chains and inexperienced engineers are shielded from similar issues.

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