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ASC To Develop Electric Warship Motor

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. --- American Superconductor Corporation, a leading electricity solutions company, today announced it has been selected by the U.S. 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 for electric warships.

AMSC has teamed with Northrop Grumman Corporation, a military ship builder and equipment supplier, to optimize 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. Revenue for the first 12 months starting March 1, 2003, is expected to be approximately $24 million.

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 (speed of light weapons), as well as electromagnetic launch and recovery of advanced aircraft.

"The U.S. 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."

As prime contractor, AMSC will lead the design and manufacture of a prototype HTS electric ship propulsion motor system that includes a 36.5- megawatt/120rpm HTS motor and the required power electronics, circuit breakers and switchgear. 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. The 36.5-megawatt power rating is equivalent to 48,667-shaft horsepower.

"We faced stiff competition for this contract and we are delighted to have won," said Greg Yurek, AMSC's chief executive. "It's the foundation for creating a new industrial base in the U.S. for advanced electric machines based on our HTS technology. AMSC employees and all of our team members are proud to be a part of this effort, which we believe will revolutionize military and commercial marine propulsion systems."

Key AMSC team members include Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and Northrop Grumman Marine Systems. Northrop Grumman Marine Systems is responsible for the development of system requirements and specifications, design and manufacture of the motor drive and certain mechanical components and system integration and test. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, a prime contractor for naval shipbuilding programs, is developing a family of electric surface warships and assists in overall ship system integration.

"Drawing on work we are doing on the DD(X) program, we have a good understanding of the Navy's requirements for the next generation of surface combatants," said Phil Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "We believe that HTS propulsion systems can meet or exceed these needs and we are delighted to be directly involved in the development and insertion of this advanced technology."

The team assembled by AMSC also includes Ideal Electric Motors, Syntek Technologies, Mississippi State University, the Center for Advanced Power Systems at Florida State University and the Virginia-based marine consulting firm, MSCL LLC.

AMSC has invested more than $64 million over the past 12 years to create HTS motors and generators that provide compelling size, weight, and efficiency advantages over conventional and permanent magnet machines. Key propulsion system benefits include:

--HTS marine motors that have greater than a 50 percent reduction in weight and volume over alternative machines, which saves hundreds of tons of ship weight; --Design flexibility that allows HTS motors to be optimized for both podded and in-hull propulsion applications; --Significantly higher efficiency over a wider range of motor operating speeds resulting in less fuel consumption and lower costs of operation, especially in partial load operating conditions; --Inherently quieter operation.

ONR's original proposal solicitation requested technical and cost proposals for a 25-megawatt motor, and options for a 26-megawatt generator and a 36.5-megawatt motor. During the proposal evaluation process, ONR decided to leapfrog the 25-megawatt motor and demonstrate a 36.5-megawatt HTS motor in three years. Development of a 26-megawatt electrical generator will not be a part of the initial program, but may be included later.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsors science and technology in support of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Founded in 1946, ONR today funds work at more than 450 universities, laboratories, and other organizations. From oceanography, advanced materials, sensors, and robotics to biomedical science and technology; from electronics, surveillance, and neurotechnology to manufacturing technology and information science; from advanced combat systems to other technologies for ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground vehicles- work ONR sponsored has produced the laser, the Global Positioning System, 50 Nobel prizes, and thousands of other discoveries and products used every day around the world.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $25 billion global defense company, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

American Superconductor develops solutions and manufactures products to dramatically improve the cost, efficiency and reliability of systems that generate, deliver and use electric power. ASC Wins $70M To Build HTS Electric Propulsion Motor