American Superconductor has signed a cost-plus-fee contract valued at $5.3m with the United States Navy
's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) for the design and optimization of high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motors and power electronic drives. The first $1.9 million increment of funding that has been allotted for this contract will focus on motor, drive and electrical system options that are optimized for possible system integration into later flights of DDG-1000 and CG(X) surface combatant ships. This initial stage of the contract is expected to be completed in the next six months.
American Superconductor is currently performing final assembly and component testing of its 36.5-MW HTS propulsion motor for the Office of Naval Research at a Northrop Grumman Marine Systems facility within the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. The motor weighs approximately 75 tons and is one-half the size and one-third the weight of traditional copper-based propulsion systems. Factory testing is expected to be completed prior to the Navy taking possession of the motor around the end of calendar 2006. The company anticipates that the new contract award will be the first in a series of contracts with the U.S. Navy that, when carried forward, will yield a militarized class standard HTS production propulsion motor suitable for U.S and allied navy warships.