PHILADELPHIA--- The WR-21 Intercooled Recuperated (ICR) advanced-cycle, gas turbine ship propulsion engine, being developed for naval warship applications by an industry team led by Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun its final development test at the U.S. Navy's facility here.
Following this test, the WR-21 will have accumulated more than 2,000 hours of operation, including 1,000 hours of endurance testing. It then will be relocated to France, where a 3,150-hour qualification test will be conducted.
The WR-21 engine system provides more fuel-efficient propulsion, resulting in reduced operation and support costs (O&S) and increased combat capability for naval ships. It is a candidate for the Navy's DD-21 program as well as for European advanced combatants. Both England and France have joined the U.S. and are investing in its development.
"In initial tests, the WR-21 has already demonstrated a 25 percent annual propulsion fuel savings, compared to the existing gas turbine engines on a typical Navy destroyer," said Jim Hupton, vice president-Northrop Grumman Marine Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., a business unit of the company's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (ES3). "The WR-21 is now predicted to deliver a 27 percent propulsion fuel savings in its initial mechanical drive production configuration."
These savings translate into extended ship range, more time on station for a given fuel capacity, or reduced fuel storage requirements that can be used for additional firepower. The WR-21 engine also meets existing and anticipated international maritime organization emission requirements for marine vessels.
Northrop Grumman Marine Systems is the prime contractor for the WR-21 engine development program with overall responsibility for engineering and systems integration. Rolls-Royce of Ansty, England, is designing and developing the gas generator and power turbine, while AlliedSignal's Aerospace Systems & Equipment Group in Los Angeles is providing the Intercooler and Recuperator Heat-Exchanger cores.
Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, headquartered in Baltimore, Md., is a leading designer, systems integrator and manufacturer of defense electronics and systems, airspace management systems, marine systems, precision weapons, space systems, and automation and information systems.