NMC is working to improve the producibility of the fuel cell to be used in UUVs through alternative materials and/or manufacturing processes. PMS 406 photo
In this Navy ManTech project, NMC is working with Strategic Analysis, Inc. (SA) and UTAS to provide recommendations to improve the producibility of an advanced FC stack design through alternative materials and/or manufacturing processes.
The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is identifying opportunities to improve the producibility and to reduce the manufacturing costs of the fuel cell (FC) system that will be used on current and future Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV).
Because these vehicles require stealthy propulsion systems with longer endurance than the current battery technology can provide, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) initiated a Long Endurance Undersea Vehicle Propulsion (LEUVP) Future Naval Capability (FNC) in FY12 and down-selected a FC stack design solution developed by UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS). Subsequently, UTAS began developing a FC system for demonstration, but it is manufactured in low volumes for air-independent applications and requires significant manual labor and support resources to process and assemble the hardware.
Once alternatives are identified, a cost benefit analysis will be performed and the alternatives will be prioritized.
Conducting a producibility study of the FC stack design while it is being designed has the greatest opportunity to affect the cost of the system. Design changes can be pursued prior to qualification testing, which reduces the implementation cost of alternative technologies in addition to the production cost savings.
The transition point for this project is the delivery of the prioritized recommendations to the Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office (PMS 406) and ONR. Follow-on phases of the LEUVP FNC will use these recommendations to modify the design to reduce the cost of the system. Implementation is planned for the initial production run of the vehicle. The FC technology will transition into the naval acquisition program in the FY18-19 timeframe.
PMS 406 Unmanned Maritime Systems
ONR Code 333
Strategic Analysis, Inc.
UTC Aerospace Systems