The US Navy has taken delivery of guided missile destroyer USS Zumwalt, its first fully electric powered ship, with a propulsion system designed by General Electric’s power conversion business
GE provided the vessel’s high-voltage system (HV), propulsion drive trains consisting of multiphase converters and advanced induction motors (AIM) for the US’ DDG 1000-class of destroyers.
GE Power Conversion North America marine leader Kevin Byrne said “Because electric power is needed for various operations and mission systems in parallel, this full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”
GE said electric propulsion will bring down cost-of-ownership and improve system redundancy, adding to vessel safety. In addition, the machinery layout is more flexible and configurable for containment and isolation. The system uses GE’s integrated power system and the DDG 1000 has the capacity to distribute electricity across the entire ship, adding flexibility for various operational power requirements.
Both of the GE-designed drive trains have two electric motors aligned in tandem. VDM25000 power converters with three independent channels accompany the 15-phase AIM. Each motor drive train can operate on 5, 10 or 15 phases providing higher redundancy, and it is more economical when running at lower power. The AIM drive train was selected to meet the requirements of the Zumwalt-class destroyer and GE describes the AIM as “compact enough for combat ships and powerful enough for an aircraft carrier”.
GE’s 72-MW integrated fully electric propulsion system comprises all shipboard electrical power generation and propulsion including the propulsion motor, VDM25000 variable speed drives, switchboards, and HV equipment. The electric drive eliminates the need for the drive shaft and reduction gears and helps in acoustic signature reduction, an increase in available power for operational requirements and improvements in the quality of life for crew. Zumwalt’s propulsion also generates additional reserved power, allowing the integration of future high-energy defence systems and sensors.
US naval officer and DDG 1000 programme manager Captain Kevin Smith said “Delivery is an important milestone for the Navy, as the DDG 1000 continues more advanced at-sea testing of the Zumwalt Combat System,” and added “The combat test team, consisting of the DDG 1000 sailors, Raytheon engineers, and Navy field activity teams, have worked diligently to get USS Zumwalt ready for more complex, multi-mission at-sea testing.”
Since 2007, GE has been the OEM for HV system, installation, commissioning and servicing for the US Navy’s three DDG 1000 class vessels. In addition to USS Zumwalt, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) is also homeported in San Diego and is undergoing combat systems activation and the third and final ship of the class, USS Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002), is under construction at Bath Iron Works in Maine.
With delivery, USS Zumwalt continues to execute missions for the US Navy.
Get the latest information and viewpoints on maritime issues during Riviera Maritime Media’s series of webinar weeks on key technical subjects in shipping