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Leccy Tech The US Navy has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a high-tech research firm, in an effort to turn its DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers into floating Prius warships.

USS_Arleigh_Burke_DDG51

Hybrid drive will let the DDG-51 warship perform slow-speed moves

Under the terms of the contract, US-based firm General Atomics will develop a prototype Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) system for integration with the ship’s existing General Electric-manufactured gas turbines.

The DDG-51’s turbines are capable of propelling the ship forwards at a rate of 30 knots or more. But, with a HED system onboard, the US Navy hopes that its DDG-51 destroyers will be able to perform graceful slow-speed manoeuvres.

But the US Navy’s also calculated that HED technology could reduce the fuel consumption of each DDG-51 by roughly 16 per cent, and the annual operating cost by around $2m to $13.2m (£7.9m/€9.2m).

The first HED-equipped DDG-51 destroyers are expected to dock in 2014. ®

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