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The Navy’s Next-Generation Weapons Have Groundbreaking Power Systems

The Navy's Next-Generation Weapons Have Groundbreaking Power Systems

US Navy weapons developers are studying innovative ways to standardize shipboard electrical power to fuel the next generation of naval weapons, sensors and computing systems. Naturally, much of this depends on enabling continuous production and energy storage on board ships that are now being built with newer and more advanced technologies. Destroyers, for example, are armed with lasers, long-range sensors, more sensitive radar systems, and more elaborate networking and computing systems, all of which require electricity and efficient power distribution.

With this in mind, the Navy now has several systems and research efforts underway in order to improve ship capacity development. Crucially, this will depend on finding the right combination of size, weight, and power (SWaP). In order to achieve this, Navy weapons developers hope to build a much smaller and more efficient hardware footprint to increase the space available on board Navy ships. This can largely be achieved through the application of common hardware and software standards and new technologies designed specifically for the generation, storage, and distribution of electrical energy.

Marine developers have long emphasized the need to engineer smaller, more efficient mobile energy storage and distribution technologies. They place special emphasis on supporting high-powered laser and radar weapons.

These technologies, and associated operating concepts, continue to define elements of the Navy’s DDG 51 Flight III destroyer program and emerging DDG(X) efforts.

Of particular interest is the efforts of Integrated Energy and Energy Systems (IPES), which seek to integrate promising combat-ready systems with cutting-edge technologies capable of transforming energy storage and distribution methods. IPES is designed to maximize short- and long-term performance, while minimizing risks typically associated with long-term development programmes.

The developers explain that Northrop Grumman’s strategy is to deliver technologies and architectures that are fully aligned with the Navy’s approach to these ships, an effort that includes a combination of new innovations and the advanced and upgradeable systems currently in use.

“We have an architecture in place that can support current and future weapons and sensor systems that are an essential part of DDG(X). Matthew Soberczynski, chief engineer, Northrop Grumman’s Power and Control Systems Division, said to national interest in an interview.

Chris Osborne is defense editor at The National Interest. Osborne previously worked at the Pentagon as a highly qualified expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. Osborne has also worked as an announcer and military specialist on air on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds a master’s degree in comparative literature from Columbia University.

Photo: Reuters.

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