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Techno Superliner Prototype Hits 54 Knots During Tests

Fast ship powered by Turbo Power & Marine Systems gas turbines The Hishoh, a large surface effect vessel prototype built as part of the Japanese government and industry co-sponsored Techno Superliner program, recently achieved atsea speeds exceeding 54 knots. The vessel also reportedly demonstrated successful stability at four to fivemeter wave heights.

A pair of MFT8 gas turbines driving waterjets provide the propulsion power for the vessel. TheMFT8 gas turbine is the result of a collaboration between Tprhn Power & Marine Systems, a division of the United Technologies Corp. an3 the! Takasago Machinery Works, a major manufacturing cente? within .Mitsubishi HeavyIndustries (MHI). InTKef collaboration, Turbo Power supplies the GG8 gas generator; MHI supplies its newly developed lightweight power turbine, as well as the MFT8 "package" including the gas turbine enclosure.

The MFT8 reportedly develops 33,000 shaft horsepower (shp) at ISO base load conditions, rotating at 5,000 rpm. The bare weight of the unit is 6.2 short tons (5.5 metric tons). With a specific fuel consumption at base load conditions of .388 pounds per shp hour (176 gr/shphr), the manufacturers claim the gas turbine is very efficient. "I was fortunate enough to be aboard the Hishoh during sea trials," saidRandy Hogan, vice president and general manager, Turbo Power and Marine Systems. "The voyage was impressive, very fast, yet stable and quiet. Ship operator executives, who each took a turn at the helm, were delighted." The 230-ft. (70-m) Hishoh is a very large prototype ship, designed at nearly half size of the proposed commercial version. The commercial version is designed to be 417 ft. (127 m) long — with a cargo capacity of 1,000 tons — and powered by four MFT8s. The Techno Super- liner program is, in part, the result of a need for improved commerce within and among the various islands of Japan and with other East Asian countries. Congestion on the Japanese roadways has increased due to improved economic conditions and JIT-LTI (Just-In-Time, Less-Then-Trailer-Load) commercial traffic. Therefore the Japanese government and private industry partners turned to the sea for solutions. The goal established in 1989 was to build and test two different types of high-speed prototype "Techno Superliner" ships. The plan was then to determine the economic viability and potential ship owner market, followed by commercial adaptation of the ship pending the findings. The design of the Hishoh (TSL-A), an air cushion hybrid hull type, began in 1992 by MHI and Mitsui Shipbuilding. The forward half of the ship was built at Mitsui's Tamano Works, and the assembly was conveyed to MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard.

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