Arlington, Va. — Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) returned the Navy´s Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator—or Sea Jet—with a new modified stern to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on March 14, 2008. Sea Jet now incorporates the Rimjet propulsor, plus associated mechanical and electrical systems. The Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator was accepted at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Acoustic Research Detachment (NSWCC-ARD) in Bayview, Idaho. NSWCCD-ARD, located on the shores of Lake Pond Oreille, is now taking Sea Jet through a series of hydrodynamic, electromagnetic, and acoustic testing.
The Rimjet propulsor is an external podded propulsor manufactured for ONR by General Dynamics Electric Boat with a control system provided by Rolls Royce. It is a rim-driven permanent magnet integrated motor propulsor. The Rimjet differs from other external propulsors in that the pod´s motor resides within the shroud of the propulsor itself, rather than separately.
Rimjet testing will provide experimental assessments of podded electric propulsion systems and will serve to validate the computational and predictive capabilities of the ONR External Engine Room initiative, which is exploring different technology options for podded propulsion. External pods, common on today´s cruise ships but rare in warships, allow propulsion machinery to be placed outside of the hull, freeing up space within the ship.
The scale of the Rimjet unit minimizes scaling artifacts. The testing of the motor on Sea Jet will provide the first wetted measurement of an external podded propulsion unit on a Navy vessel and will allow study of the effects of hull interactions on signatures.
The 133-foot Sea Jet was christened in August 2005 at Lake Pond Oreille, and has served as a demonstrator for new hull and bow designs as well as a test bed for new propulsion technologies. Sea Jet is owned by the Office of Naval Research and operated for testing activities by NSWCCD-ARD.