Engineering Services: Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicle Sensor Power Source
AeroVironment, under contract to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD), investigated the feasibility of using a dedicated diesel engine in a hybrid configuration with an ultracapacitor or battery pack to provide payload power for ten-day missions for Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicles (USSVs). USSVs require a low signature power source for on-station operation of sensor payloads. The power source must have a high energy density, be reliable, require low maintenance, and be able to withstand salt spray and heavy seas for ten-day missions. In addition, the payload duty cycle can require 25 kW peak loads for ten seconds out of every minute, with constant loads of one kilowatt. AV also looked at using a low temperature PEM fuel cell operating on pure hydrogen and air to provide the continuous base power in a fuel cell hybrid configuration for missions requiring low signatures.