Rolls-Royce to develop mini water jet for unmanned craft

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, is to develop a new, highly efficient water jet to propel unmanned surface craft for the US Navy.

The new water jet will be the smallest Rolls-Royce design to date, with a diameter of just 100 millimetres, and will quietly propel the craft through the water on remotely controlled missions that include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Rolls-Royce will develop the water jet part of the innovative small propulsion system, part of a US Government funded Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project led by Candent Technologies Inc.

Dennis Duke, Rolls-Royce, Advanced Programs Director - Naval Marine Inc. added: “We are developing and adapting our world-leading water jet technologies as part of a highly efficient propulsion system which will enable these advanced craft to go about their duties criss-crossing waterways and oceans, often for months at a time. "Unmanned craft are a fast growing and exciting part of naval marine technology and we’re delighted to be working with Candent and the US Navy in developing this groundbreaking propulsion system."

Known as MUSCL, the US Navy’s Modular Unmanned Surface Craft Littoral, is an X class unmanned surface vessel, designed to reduce risk to manned forces and perform tedious and repetitive surveillance tasks. The water jets will provide thrust to move the craft at speeds in excess of 25 knots as well as sustaining a cruise speed of 15 knots.

Rolls-Royce manufactures a wide range of water jets that power craft ranging from small patrol boats, to naval ships and the world’s largest high speed ferries. Water jets provide high levels of manoeuvrability and efficiency and are particularly suited to vessels operating in shallow waters.

  1. Rolls-Royce is a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.
  2. As a result of this strategy, Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising more than 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 4,000 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in more than 80 countries.
  3. Annual underlying revenue was £11.3 billion in 2011, of which more than half came from the provision of services. The firm and announced order book stood at £60.1 billion at 30 June 2012, providing visibility of future levels of activity.
  4. Rolls-Royce employs over 40,000 people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in over 50 countries. Over 11,000 of these employees are engineers.
  5. In 2011, Rolls-Royce invested £908 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental performance of its products, in particular reducing emissions.
  6. Rolls-Royce supports a global network of 28 University Technology Centres, which connect the company’s engineers with the forefront of scientific research.
  7. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.

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