New Waterjets Will Propel Navy Warships to Greater Speeds
CREDIT: U.S. Office of Naval Research
The navy warship Milwaukee will be the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to be powered by a new type of waterjet designed to protect against rudder and propeller damage afflicting high-speed ships.
“We believe these waterjets are the future,” Ki-Han Kim, program manager in the Office of Naval Research’s Ship Systems and Engineering Research Division, said in a statement. “Anything that we can do to keep ships ready to go will ultimately benefit our warfighters.”
The so-called Axial-Flow Waterjet MK-1 jets arrived last month at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, where Milwaukee (LCS 5) is under construction.
The new waterjets can move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute, providing more thrust than current commercial waterjets. The Milwaukee will carry four of the smaller, more efficient waterjets and will be able to reach speeds greater than 40 knots.
The new waterjets are designed to protect against cavitation — a phenomenon that occurs when changes in pressure create air bubbles on rotating machinery, such as marine propellers. Repeated cavitation can cause whole chunks of metal to wear away, leading to costly repairs and replacements.
The LCS will play a big role in the Navy’s plan as a modular, adaptable vessel for use against diesel submarines, coastal, or "littoral," mines and attacks by small surface craft.
If the new waterjets perform well on the Milwaukee, they could be installed on 10 more LCS, the Navy said.