Texan company to provide APU for US Navy’s new frigate

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The US Navy’s next-generation guided missile frigate FFG62, now known as the Constellation class and to be built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine, will feature an auxiliary propulsion unit (APU) from Texas-based Thrustmaster.

The company is to supply a complete APU package consisting of the 1MW retractable azimuthing thruster, controls, prime mover electric motor, variable frequency drive and steering and retraction power unit. The APU package will be designed and built to MIL-STD-901E Grade-A shock qualification.

The FFG 62 program is the second US Navy vessel class to be outfitted with the company’s APU technology; the LCS Independence variant vessels are already equipped with an 850 HP APU.

Thrustmaster states that its APU solution provides the ability to operate the vessel at slow speed while affording extreme maneuverability and fuel savings, although its primary function is to provide a back-up means of propulsion in the event of failure of the main propulsion system.

The first Constellation class frigate is scheduled for delivery in 2026. In April the Navy awarded a US$795m contract to the shipbuilder for the design and production of one base ship plus nine option vessels, as well as post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders, which would be worth US$5.5bn if exercised.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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