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Contrarotating Electric Drive for Attack Submarines

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This paper addresses certain issues relating to the viability of contrarotating (CR) electric drive for attack submarines. Topics include CR propulsion's potential benefits, electric drive advantages, and combining con‐trarotation with electric drive engine room concepts. CR propellers provide propulsive coefficient (PC) increases compared to open‐type and performance‐enhanced single propellers. The maximum submarine propulsion plant power capacity could therefore be reduced with this PC increase, potentially resulting in a smaller, lighter propulsion plant. This paper concludes, however, that con‐trarotation shows no propulsion plant weight savings against electric drive attack submarines with performance enhanced single propeller designs. Weight improvements in the power generation plant and certain steam plant and electric plant systems are offset by weight increases from the additional shafting and bearing requirements for the CR shaft. Contrarotation is currently more advantageous for nonnuclear ships, where significant fuel savings are achievable with its higher PC.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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