American Superconductor wins $70 million contract

American Superconductor has today been selected by the US Navy to lead a team in designing and building a prototype 36.5 megawatt high temperature superconductor propulsion motor for electric warships.

American Superconductor (AMSC) today announced it has been selected by the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) as prime contractor to lead a team in designing and building a prototype 36.5 megawatt high temperature superconductor (HTS) propulsion motor.

According to a statement, AMSC has teamed with Northrop Grumman to optimise the design, integration and testing of the HTS propulsion motor for integration into electric warships.

The full value of the contract, which will be incrementally funded over the next 37 months, is expected to be approximately $70 million in revenue for AMSC, the largest single contract in the company’s history.

Rear Admiral Jay M. Cohen, Chief of Naval Research, commented that the future of naval warfare will include all electric ships and many electrically intensive applications, including advanced high-power multi-function radar, high power microwave, electric rail guns, high energy lethal lasers, as well as electromagnetic launch and recovery of advanced aircraft.

‘The US Navy is going electric,’ said Admiral Cohen. ‘Superconductor technology will help reduce the size and weight of motors, generators, power transmission and supporting electrical components to help speed the transition to electric this decade. This contract is an important step along the road to attaining these capabilities.’

The motor is expected to be less than half the size and approximately one-third the weight of a conventional copper-based motor. Specifications of the contract with ONR call for the motor to be delivered to the Navy in 37 months.