Northrop Grumman Gear Elements Enable Fast Combat Support Ship to Operate at Top Speed for the First Time in Three Years

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Dur­ing recent sea tri­als, the USNS Arc­tic (T‑AOE‑8) fast com­bat sup­port ship reached its top speed for the first time in three years because of the reman­u­fac­tured high-speed gear ele­ments designed and built by Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion (NYSE:NOC).

The high-speed gear ele­ments man­u­fac­tured for the Arc­tic by anoth­er sup­pli­er devel­oped cracks, lim­it­ing the vessel’s abil­i­ty to oper­ate at the speeds nec­es­sary to keep up with the car­ri­er bat­tle groups it is designed to sup­port. In addi­tion, the gears were plagued with high bear­ing tem­per­a­tures and an unre­li­able instru­men­ta­tion sys­tem. The Mil­i­tary Sealift Com­mand (MSC) solicit­ed a new set of first reduc­tion gear ele­ments through a com­pet­i­tive pro­cure­ment, and award­ed Northrop Grum­man a con­tract in Jan­u­ary 2008. 

Northrop Grum­man designed new high-speed gear ele­ments, more robust and reli­able bear­ings, and a new tem­per­a­ture mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, all of which per­formed at or above require­ments dur­ing the recent sea tri­als. As a result, the Arc­tic will now be able to return to unre­strict­ed ser­vice. The ves­sel was first com­mis­sioned in 1995. 

“Design­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and installing brand new gear ele­ments to solve per­for­mance issues in an exist­ing ship is a tough tech­ni­cal chal­lenge,” said Glenn Perkins, vice pres­i­dent of Northrop Grumman’s Marine Sys­tems busi­ness unit. “By work­ing with the MSC and the Navy, we were able to over­come those chal­lenges suc­cess­ful­ly, as sea tri­als proved, and help the Navy re-estab­lish full capa­bil­i­ty to sup­port the fleet. This suc­cess demon­strates Northrop Grum­man capa­bil­i­ty to deliv­er crit­i­cal solu­tions in the sur­face ship gear market.” 

The T‑AOE fast com­bat sup­port ships are designed for rapid logis­tics sup­port of Navy ves­sels that are in com­bat. Their abil­i­ty to trans­port heavy sup­ply loads effi­cient­ly and quick­ly requires pow­er­ful reduc­tion gears for ship propulsion. 

Northrop Grum­man has exten­sive expe­ri­ence in propul­sion and pow­er gen­er­a­tion, includ­ing design and deliv­ery of high-qual­i­ty naval reduc­tion gears. The com­pa­ny is the cur­rent sup­pli­er of high-per­for­mance reduc­tion gears for the Navy’s sub­ma­rine fleet, and has pro­vid­ed more than 120 gear sets to the sur­face fleet over the past three decades. 

Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion is a lead­ing glob­al secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny whose 120,000 employ­ees pro­vide inno­v­a­tive sys­tems, prod­ucts, and solu­tions in aero­space, elec­tron­ics, infor­ma­tion sys­tems, ship­build­ing and tech­ni­cal ser­vices to gov­ern­ment and com­mer­cial cus­tomers world­wide. Please vis­it for more information. 

CONTACT: Tom Delaney
Northrop Grum­man Elec­tron­ic Sys­tems
(410) 993‑6454

Press release
Northrop Grum­man Elec­tron­ic Systems 

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