Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, is to develop a new, highly efficient water jet to propel unmanned surface craft for the US Navy.
The new water jet will be the smallest Rolls-Royce design to date, with a diameter of just 100 millimetres, and will quietly propel the craft through the water on remotely controlled missions that include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Rolls-Royce will develop the water jet part of the innovative small propulsion system, part of a US Government funded Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project led by Candent Technologies Inc.
Dennis Duke, Rolls-Royce, Advanced Programs Director – Naval Marine Inc. added: “We are developing and adapting our world-leading water jet technologies as part of a highly efficient propulsion system which will enable these advanced craft to go about their duties criss-crossing waterways and oceans, often for months at a time. “Unmanned craft are a fast growing and exciting part of naval marine technology and we’re delighted to be working with Candent and the US Navy in developing this groundbreaking propulsion system.”
Known as MUSCL, the US Navy’s Modular Unmanned Surface Craft Littoral, is an X class unmanned surface vessel, designed to reduce risk to manned forces and perform tedious and repetitive surveillance tasks. The water jets will provide thrust to move the craft at speeds in excess of 25 knots as well as sustaining a cruise speed of 15 knots.
Rolls-Royce manufactures a wide range of water jets that power craft ranging from small patrol boats, to naval ships and the world’s largest high speed ferries. Water jets provide high levels of manoeuvrability and efficiency and are particularly suited to vessels operating in shallow waters.