American Superconductor Corporation announced that it has finalized a contract amendment with the United States Navy
's Office of Naval Research (ONR). Contract terms include an approval for a $10 million increase to AMSC's contract to design and build a 36.5 megawatt (MW) high temperature superconductor (HTS) propulsion motor for electric warships. The amendment adds $10 million to AMSC's backlog. AMSC also expects an additional contract modification to be completed by ONR within the next few months, to increase AMSC's backlog by an additional $7-10 million. AMSC expects to deliver the 36.5MW motor to the Navy test facility in Philadelphia in September 2006.
As prime contractor, AMSC leads the design, manufacture and initial testing of the prototype 36.5MW 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 have already successfully completed the first two phases
of the three-phase development process for the 36.5MW 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, which means Navy ships could
carry more fuel and munitions and could have more room for crew's quarters and weapons systems. 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 equivalent to conventional motors of the same power and torque rating.