General Electric Marine is planning to offer its GE38 small gas-turbine engine in an upcoming Navy competition for the Landing Craft Air Cushion replacement program. The GE38 already has been selected by the Marine Corps for its CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.
The company also is evaluating potential opportunities for the GE38 with the Navy’s planned Flight III build of Arleigh Burke–class Aegis destroyers, which the Navy will start funding in Fiscal Year 2016. The Flight III ships, now expected to begin with DDG-121, will incorporate dramatically upgraded combat, command, control, and communications, intelligence and surveillance, and ship computing and control systems. The Flight III variant will retain the current DDG-51 hull form, however.
The Navy is studying options for propulsion-plant architectures for the Flight III. A critical driver, Navy and industry officials say, is the ship’s combat system—weapons, sensors, and processing architectures—that depends on the hull, mechanical, and electrical system for operating power.