Marine Link
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sulzer D M Engine Tuns 100

This year is the centenary of the Sulzer diesel engine. On June 10, 1898, the first diesel engine built by Sulzer Brothers began running on the test bed in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Since then, the Sulzer diesel engine has become a household name in the marine industry, and has passed through an amazing range of development, starting from the first engines — derived from the 1898 experimental four-stroke engine of 20 bhp — to the 90,000 bhp 12-cylinder RTA96C ship propulsion engine that recently entered service.

A total of some 37,000 Sulzer diesel engines, aggregating 158.3 million bhp, had been built or were on order by the end of 1997.

Formation Of Early Diesel Roots The remarkable association of the Swiss firm Sulzer Brothers with the diesel engine stemmed from 1879 when at the age of 21, Rudolf Diesel came to the firm's Winterthur works for workshop experience after studying in Munich. In 1893, when he was seeking backing to develop his new engine concept, he sent a copy of his book Theory And Design of An Efficient Heat Engine As The Replacement For Steam Engines and Today's Known Combustion Engines to Sulzer Brothers. He also corresponded with Wilhelm Zublin, chief engineer at Sulzer Brothers, to promote his engine but with no success. At that time, the firm was enjoying tremendous success with its world-renowned orders to the U.S. Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers. During the Russian Okean 70 exercise, the Soviet Fleet found that their shore-based command links were inflexible and unresponsive. The exercise showed that the command loops were so long that their fleet could not react fast enough to developing situations to avoid destruction at the hands of the more agile Western navies. The result in this case was a crash program to develop at-sea flagships and the testing of those links in the subsequent Okean 75 exercise.

A number of navies are now attempting to move beyond the confines of their proximate littorals and project naval power significantly further from home. In so doing, they will incur the added expense of providing for organic naval aviation and at-sea command facilities. However, to most of those who live on the sea, the most visible attribute of naval power will remain the maritime patrol craft and offshore patrol vessels used to maintain law and order on the high seas. While nobody now takes claims that effective surface combatants can be built on anything less than a 203 to 230 ft. (62 to 70 m) hull seriously, 184 and 203 ft. (56 and 62 m) offshore patrol craft carry most of the burden of preventing marine crime. These patrol craft are properly thought of as police craft.

They are responsible for preventing piracy, controlling smuggling and all the other aspects of maintaining the rule of law at sea. To the crew of a yacht or pleasure craft in difficulties, there is no more welcome site of a coastguard cutter offering assistance.

Marine policing also requires dedicated command facilities which add to the cost burden of maintaining a naval presence. The operations of coastal patrol craft are best controlled from inshore, coordinating the actions of the OPCs and OPVs with radio monitoring, maritime patrol aircraft, shore-based observers and citizens who become aware of a situation that requires professional assistance. Shore-based radar networks are necessary to control shipping movements through restricted waters and to alert emergency services when an accident does occur. It is interesting to note that in some areas, most notably the Malacca Straits and English Channel, the data load generated by controlling shipping movements approximates to that required for air traffic control. The June, 1998 techniques used by the operators are similar, the only difference being that the maritime situation develops much more slowly than that involved with aircraft movement. Overall, maintaining a naval presence in littoral waters, whether for military operations or for maritime policing revolves around obtaining the information needed to plot the situations in question, then analyzing the key factors of those situations in order to determine the correct course of actions. Forecast International's detailed studies have shown that modern computer command control technology is providing the necessary answers to these problems but also indicate the high level of cost that can be incurred. This, problem too, is being addressed by modern technology. Computers designed for the civilian market are being exploited for military use, dramatically reducing costs while, apparently, not involving any great loss of military capability. This approach, knows as COTS (Civilian off-the-shelf) may well provide answers to the littoral warfare C4I crisis within reach of regional and local navies.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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