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General Atomics Awarded Contract to Build Hybrid Electric Warships

San Diego based General Atomics Corporation has landed a contract with the Navy to apply fuel saving technology to warships.

If General Atomic’s Hybrid Electric Drive system can be modified to work on Navy vessels, it could save up to 12,000 barrels of fuel per ship per year.

Scott Forney of General Atomics says, like everybody else, the Navy is trying to reduce its dependence on non-renewable foreign oil.

“Same reasons why you buy a Prius,” he says. “If you are energy conscious, is why you’d put a hybrid electric drive on a ship. So when the Navy decides to go forward, they could field something within a couple of years I would think, after the technology is fully demonstrated.”

Forney says the hybrid electric drive would modify a ship’s existing propulsion system, rather than being a whole-sale replacement. He says it’s already been used on large mining trucks. More than 20 other companies bid for the energy saving contract with the Department of Defense.

Some of the $32 million contract is federal stimulus money. The jobs created will be shared between General Atomics and its partner, DRS Technologies, with operations in other Wisconsin and Massachusetts.