Small Unmanned Surface Vehicle Propulsion System

Period of Performance: 06/07/2012 - 12/07/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sealandaire Technologies, Inc.
1623 Wildwood Ave, Suite A Array
Jackson, MI 49202
Principal Investigator


The US Navy has successfully developed a man-portable, X-class Unmanned Surface Vessel for shallow water coastal and riverine operations. Although the prototype USV has proven its utility during initial test and evaluation, several key technological hurdles remain. Increasing the top speed and extending the endurance through efficiency improvements would greatly improve this X-class USV s utility in the littoral battlespace. SeaLandAire Technologies, in conjunction with Maritime Research Associates, proposes to develop an innovative rim-driven, air-lubricated, hubless, axial waterjet propulsion system and a hybrid energy delivery system optimized to operate efficiently with this unique propulsion system. The hubless waterjet provides increased speed and efficiency over conventional thrusters and also provides increased reliability since its design is inherently weedless. The hybrid energy storage / power delivery approach provides over 7 hours endurance with COTS components while also setting the stage for large performance improvements with follow-on development efforts. In addition, the hybrid approach allows increased latitude to independently optimize the waterjet and combustion engine efficiencies across a wide range of vessel speeds. The applicability and benefits of both technologies are presented in within the full proposal.