Hybrid power trains are most commonly associated with fuel efficient passenger cars. It was once a novelty, but you can get hybrid versions of many cars out there, from family sedans to luxury cars, and even sports cars. You can now add U.S. Navy destroyers to that list of hybrid-equipped vehicles.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer is the mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s surface combatants. There are 62 active destroyers of this class, and up to another 42 planned. Each packs more than 90 missiles, as well as other weapons systems. In addition to our super carriers, they represent a key component of the United States projecting its power around the globe. And they are about to get a little greener, with the addition of hybrid electric drives.
Starting in 2016, the Navy will start to convert 34 of the newest boats in the class to hybrid drives. This will be accomplished by integrating an electric motor into the ship’s main reduction gear. It will be able to operate on fully electric power at speeds below 13 knots. Above that, it will continue to run the quartet of General Electric gas turbine engines.