October 7, 2004

American Superconductors and Northrop Grumman form alliance

American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a leading electricity solutions company, and Northrop Grumman Marine Systems, a unit of the Electronic Systems sector of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC),haveannounced a strategic business alliance to sell, market and develop products for the U.S. military based on high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire.

The joint sales and marketing effort will focus initially on HTS electric propulsion motors for the U.S. Navy.

The alliance covers development of HTS propulsion systems, energy storage and conversion, transformers and pulse-power applications, as well as the sale of these products to all branches of the U.S. military.

HTS technology offers significant advantages to the military in terms of power density and higher electrical efficiency, which translates into increased payloads and operational flexibility.

Last month, (see earlier story) American Superconductor Corporation reported that its prototype 5-MW HTS Superconductor ship propulsion motor had been demonstrated successfully at full load, under steady state operational conditions, at the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The motor was developed under contract with the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) to prove the viability of HTS technology for both military and commercial marine propulsion.

Currently, American Superconductor and Northrop Grumman Marine Systems are collaborating on development of a 36.5 MW) HTS ship propulsion motor under contract to the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. The companies also are working together to qualify this advanced motor design as a strong alternative to conventional motors and other advanced motor designs for insertion in the 2008 timeframe for U.S. Navy application.

"We have achieved impressive results to date on the 36.5-MW program," said James Hupton, vice president of Northrop Grumman Marine Systems, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. "We are confident that this effort will demonstrate the advantages of HTS technology for marine propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy, specifically high power density and high efficiency systems."

"Together, AMSC and Northrop Grumman provide a respected, innovative, and leading edge capability for military customers pursuing transformational HTS technology," said Greg Yurek, chief executive officer of AMSC. "This new strategic business alliance adds considerable strength to our sales, marketing and development of current and future HTS-based solutions for all branches of the U.S. military."

The agreement, which has an initial duration of six years, is limited to products for the U.S. military that are based on HTS wire.


Tell a friend: