August 27, 2005 The US Navy christened its Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD) this week, naming the futuristic ship SEA JET and showing it to the media for the first time. The 133-foot vessel will serve as a model representing a destroyer-size surface ship and will be launched on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, where it will be used for test and demonstration of various technologies. An underwater discharge waterjet from Rolls-Royce Naval Marine called AWJ-21, will be among the first technologies tested. It allows vessels to operate in shallow water with increased maneuverability and stealth.
The AWJ-21 is designed to increase ship speed, making hulls sleeker by working without rudders, shafts and propeller struts. Unlike conventional waterjets, the system works completely underwater, reducing noise and surface wake and improving stealth.
The lightweight and compact AWJ-21 allows ships to operate in shallow waters. Its integrated steering and reversing system improves manoeuvrability at low speeds.
Pat Marolda, Rolls-Royce President – Naval, said: "This is a significant milestone in our development of an advanced waterjet technology which offers new parameters in performance, bringing real benefits to the US Navy."
Following demonstration of the AWJ-21, the RIMJET propulsor from General Dynamics Electric Boat will be installed in Sea Jet for evaluation. The RIMJET is a novel type of podded propulsion system that relies on a permanent magnet motor to drive the propellor.
The Chief of Naval Research Rear Admiral Jay M. Cohen delivered the principle address at the christening. The ship’s sponsor is Kathleen Harper, wife of Thurman Harper, vice president of engineering for Rolls-Royce Naval Marine, Inc. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she broke a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship "Sea Jet."