Leonardo DRS Inc., announced today that it has again been awarded a contract by Eastern Shipbuilding Group to provide the Auxiliary Propulsion System for the fourth shipset in the U.S. Coast Guard’s new fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters. This platform is the first combined diesel electric or diesel propulsion system application for the Coast Guard. Eastern Shipbuilding Group is the prime contractor and builder of these next-generation Offshore Patrol Cutters.
Under the contract, Leonardo DRS will provide its high-performance, permanent magnet motor-based Auxiliary Propulsion System. This integrated hybrid electric drive system has been optimized to meet the Coast Guard’s operational tempo and provides capability for the ship to operate much more efficiently at slower speeds, increases mission duration capability, reduces emissions, and provides emergency take-home capability in the event of a failure of the main propulsion diesel engines. When coupled to the main propulsion gearbox, the system allows the ship to operate quietly and efficiently during loitering operations while providing superior fuel economy for increased on-station operations and capability.
Maximizing use of the electric drive increases the platform’s green credentials and reduces operational time on the main propulsion engines, providing additional multiple benefits. Because electric motors are virtually maintenance free, life cycle costs over the planned 40-year vessel life are minimized by reducing maintenance hours needed on the engines. Using propulsion diesel engines at slow speeds adds significant wear and tear on the engines and increases the potential for coking/wet stacking. By adding this electric Auxiliary Propulsion System, the Coast Guard can expect to have a built-in advantage of reducing not only fuel and maintenance requirements, but total lifecycle costs and increased safety for the fleet. The main engine overhaul cycle, typically planned at 15 years, can be extended to 25 years.
“Leonardo DRS is a leading innovator in the naval hybrid electric drive technology arena, and we are proud to be able to provide our advanced technology to the Coast Guard’s fleet of next-generation Cutters,” said Jon Miller, senior vice president and general manager of the Leonardo DRS Naval Power business. “These new propulsion systems will give operational flexibility while significantly increasing cost savings in yearly maintenance and fuel, enabling crews to put more focus on their missions.”
The Auxiliary Propulsion System is designed and built by Leonardo DRS and has been proven in multiple Oil and Gas, Marine and Transport applications. The system includes two of the most power-dense permanent magnet motors on the market today providing significant advantages in size, weight, efficiency and performance over conventional electric induction motors and produce more torque from the same amount of supplied current. Their smaller footprint allows greater flexibility in engine room design and increased cargo space, and their simpler more rugged construction results in proven reliability and durability.