Leonardo to equip USCG's new fleet of offshore patrol cutters with auxiliary propulsion system

Leonardo DRS has secured a contract from Eastern Shipbuilding to provide advanced hybrid electric drive technology for the US Coast Guard's (USCG) new fleet of offshore patrol cutters.

Valued at $10.7m, the contract requires the company to provide its permanent magnet motor-based auxiliary propulsion system.

The contract includes the delivery of first nine systems, Leonardo stated.

The integration of the hybrid electric drive system enables the ship to operate much more efficiently at slower speeds.

Leonardo DRS Surface Ships business unit vice-president Dianne Howells said: “DRS is a pioneer in naval hybrid electric drive technologies and we are proud to be able to deliver these advanced systems to the Coast Guard’s newest generation of ships.

“Our auxiliary propulsion systems will give the crews of these new ships operational flexibility when they need it, while significantly increasing cost savings in yearly maintenance and fuel.”

The auxiliary propulsion system is also said to increase mission duration capability, reduce emissions and provide emergency take-home capability in the event of a failure of the main propulsion diesel engines, according to the statement.

This system, when coupled to the main propulsion gearbox, will enable the ship to operate quietly and efficiently during loitering operations, in addition to providing superior fuel economy for increased on-station operations and capability.

The use of propulsion diesel engines at slow speeds is believed to increase the potential for coking/wet stacking.

Image: Leonardo DRS to provide advanced hybrid electric drive technology for the US Coast Guard's offshore patrol cutters. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo DRS.