American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:AMSC) has finalized an additional contract amendment with the United States Navy's Office of Naval Research
(ONR). Under the terms of the amendment, the ONR has approved a $13.3 million increase to AMSC's contract for the design, manufacture and shipment of a factory-tested 36.5-megawatt (MW) (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) propulsion motor for electric warships. The amendment adds $13.3 million to AMSC's backlog, all of which is expected to be recognized as revenue by the end of calendar 2006. AMSC expects to deliver the 36.5-MW motor to the Navy test facility in Philadelphia in September 2006. The company also stated that the contract for the motor has now been converted from a cost-plus-fee contract to a firm-fixed-price contract.
As prime contractor, AMSC leads the design, manufacture and initial testing of the prototype 36.5-MW HTS electric ship propulsion motor. The motor, which is sized for the Navy's future DD(X) ships, benefits from the successes achieved by AMSC in a recently completed ONR 5-MW HTS motor development and test program. AMSC and Northrop Grumman (NOC)
have successfully completed the first two phases of the three-phase development process for the 36.5-MW motor, including successful preliminary design and detailed design reviews.
HTS motors are ultra-compact, measuring as little as one-third the weight and one-half the size of copper-based motors of the same power and torque rating. This means Navy ships could carry more fuel and munitions, and have more room for crew's quarters and weapons systems. Commercial ship owners and operators, meanwhile, could carry more passengers and cargo. In addition, HTS motors operate with higher fuel efficiency and are expected to have lower maintenance costs than their conventional copper counterparts. The substantial advantages offered by HTS ship propulsion motors are expected to be provided at a production cost that is equivalent to conventional motors of the same power and torque rating.
Key AMSC team members include Northrop Grumman Marine Systems and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.