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Integrated Power System (IPS)

An integrated power system (IPS) is an all-electric architecture for future ships, providing electric power to the total ship (propulsion and ship service) with an integrated plant. IPS enables a ship's electrical loads, such as pumps and lighting, to be powered from the same electrical source as the propulsion system (e.g., electric drive), eliminating the need for separate power generation capabilities for these loads. In commercial applications, this is known as the "power station" concept.

Anticipated benefits of IPS include: Fewer prime movers: Usually allows for a reduction from a total of seven to a total of five prime movers in the traditional gas-turbine surface combatant. Reduced costs of ownership: Results in significant fuel savings (15-19% in a typical gas-turbine combatant). Fewer engines installed results in less maintenance and manning. Naval architectural flexibility: Provides flexibility in locating prime movers, allowing space previously used for uptakes to be put to better use. Improved survivability and stealth: Quiet propulsion motors can better meet current acoustic requirements. Smaller main machinery spaces allow for improved damage control. Improved warfighting: Integrated power makes large amounts of power available throughout the life of the ship. This power can be reallocated to accommodate future combat systems. Advances in power conversion are making it possible to provide uninterrupted power, advanced fault isolation, and "fight through" capabilities beyond what is currently available.

In a typical mechanical drive propulsion system, the propulsion prime movers are connected to long shafts running through the ship to large reduction gears that rotate the ship's propellers. With electric drive, the prime movers rotate electric generators that are connected through cabling to motor drives and electric motors that rotate a ship's propellers. Electricity is the medium for transmitting the energy of the prime mover. It enables "cross connecting" of any available prime mover/generator combination by breaking the physical link between the power generation and power utilization components.

IPS provides for all of a ship's electrical needs, including propulsion and ship service loads. Electric drive only provides for propulsion. It does not include power for ship service loads.

The Navy has used electric drive in many ships, including early aircraft carriers, a number of ships during World War II, and many of the current inventory of smaller auxiliary ships. In fact, the Navy is leveraging as much as possible what is happening in the cruise ship industry, where nearly all new ships are integrated electric. What is new and significant is the application of these concepts in a fully electrically integrated (no mechanical takeoffs for power) power system on a surface combatant. These ships have higher speed and lower noise requirements than any of the other ships, as well as large combat systems to support. Commercial systems would be too big and too noisy for a surface combatant, and do not have a power system architecture to let them survive damage and continue to fight.




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