In a marine engineering bureau interview last month, marine engineering executive Mike Wysocki, who helped design the V8 engines used in the Navy’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, told The Hill the engine could be used for a wide variety of applications in the fleet.
Wysocksi said the engine, which he described as “a supercharged engine” could help create new nuclear submarines in the future.
“The [nuclear] submarine is a critical piece of our naval capability,” he said.
“So, we can look to nuclear submarines as a prime example of the benefits of a supercharged [engine].”
Wysicksi told The Daily Signal the engine would also allow the Navy to run the engines of the new “Casper” submarines, which have been in service for a few years now.
“They’re not really a submarine,” he added.
“But they’re very, very powerful.”
In the future, Wysacks said, the Navy will look to use the engine for the new nuclear-class submarines in order to help power a wider range of vessels.
“This is not something that’s going to be developed for a long time,” he told The Huffington Post.
“It’s something that we’re going to develop over time and see how we can get it into a fleet that we need to have.”
He said the Navy has identified a number of applications for the engine that could be possible in the next several years, including nuclear submarines and the U.S. Navy’s new “Pacific Fleet” ships.
“The [V8] is the way to go,” Wysoks said.
The Navy has long been searching for a way to convert its nuclear-power submarines into more versatile, smaller vessels, and to reduce the cost of maintaining the nuclear-equipped submarines.
The new “Pierced Arrow” nuclear-electric submarine, which will be built by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, is scheduled to enter service in 2021.
While Wyscks suggested that the V7 engines could also be used in some applications, he said the new engine will allow for a wider variety of different applications.
When asked if he thought the Navy would be able to find the right application for the V4 engine in the years ahead, Wiesocksi replied, “We do think we can use the V2 [V6] and V7 [V7] as well.”
The Navy’s nuclear- powered submarines have had a rough go of it in recent years, with a number undergoing major maintenance in recent months.
Wysocks said the V5 and V6 engines were “a huge deal,” and he noted that there was no “tremendous backlog” of maintenance issues on the nuclear submarine fleet.
He also said that the Navy is confident that its “new generation” nuclear submarines will continue to be able operate efficiently in the near future.
However, Wypicksi did say that he believes the Navy needs to look at its nuclear submarines more carefully, and noted that the current fleet of “V6” and “V7” nuclear reactors has a high maintenance backlog.
At the same time, Wyssocks said he is hopeful that the Department of Energy will soon be able “to make sure that they have a much more streamlined process for doing nuclear maintenance and safety inspections” as part of the Nuclear Security Review, and said that this could “open the door” for the Navy “to do a lot more with the V6 and V8.”
Wyssocks also said he hopes the Navy can use its new nuclear engines to “provide an extra bit of propulsion for those ships” in the Pacific.
Despite his optimism about the new engines, Winsocks noted that he expects the Navy could eventually end up using the V1, V2 and V4 engines in the “Pacific fleet.”
“That would be an amazing thing,” he joked.
“If I had a $500 million budget, I’d be willing to use these engines.”
[h/t The Daily Beast]