The restart of the DD(X) surface combatant program following the General Accounting Office's August decision to deny General Dynamics' protest of the Navy's DD(X) contract award in April to the Gold Team will speed the pace of industry work on shipboard integrated electric drive.
The progress on the DD(X) electric-drive work, industry and Navy officials say, also will push forward a broad move not only toward electric drive for ships and submarines, but also toward a range of electric machinery for other defense applications. The Navy's Virginia (SSN-774)-class attack submarine program envisions introducing electric drive in the 2010 time frame. The Army plans to move to electric drive for future ground vehicles.
The Gold Team, led by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, is proceeding with work on ship-system design, aimed at completion on the original pre-protest schedule of 2005. Electric drive, anointed with great fanfare by Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig in January 2000 as the baseline power architecture for the program (then called DD-21), almost certainly will be the most decisive new engineering venture for the ship-driving Navy in years.