FMD to Test High-Speed Engine for US Navy’s LUSV Platform

To qualify for the US Navy's LUSV platform, Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD) nForcer high-speed engine will have to perform a minimum of 720 hours in a land-based test environment without human intervention By Joseph Macey / 04 Apr 2023
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Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD) has been contracted to provide and test one nForcer high-speed engine to qualify for the US Navy’s large unmanned surface vessel (LUSV) platform.

To qualify, the engine must perform for a minimum of 720 hours in a land-based test environment without human intervention. Testing is expected to begin in Q3 2023.

“The LUSV platform has unprecedented power and propulsion requirements, which means that the Navy needs a power-dense engine with a reliable track record,” said FMD CEO George Whittier. “While the nForcer is the most power-dense high-speed engine on the market, this award will drive incremental design improvements to support extended unmanned operations in a marine environment. It’s an extraordinary example of the numerous technological solutions offered by FMD that align with the distinctive needs of the LUSV program.”

The FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires a 720-hour demonstration of critical systems for the LUSV platform. The engine’s low lube oil consumption, which supports 90-day unmanned mission intervals, enables the engine’s extended operation.

FMD launched the nForcer, FMD’s first high-speed engine, earlier this year. It will be available with 12, 16 or 20 cylinders and includes a 175-millimeter bore for mechanical or electric propulsion for onboard power generation. The engine operates at 1,800-2,000 RPMs, has a power output rating of 1,740-4,400kW, and is believed to be one of the most power-dense high-speed engines available for maritime use.

According to FMD, the nForcer engine will be ready to integrate with US Naval platforms within the next two years.

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