AMSC and Northrop Grumman Announce Successful Load Testing of 36.5 Megawatt Superconductor Ship Propulsion Motor

Jan 13, 2009
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AMSC and Northrop Grumman Announce Successful Load Testing of 36.5 Megawatt Superconductor Ship Propulsion Motor


-Most Powerful Motor Ever Tested by U.S. Navy
-Motor Size and Weight Reduced by More Than 50%, Acoustic Signature Reduced, Efficiency Increased
-Superconductor Motors Ready for Deployment

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 2009--American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a leading energy technologies company, and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced today at the Surface Navy Association's 21st National Symposium the successful completion of full-power testing of the world's first 36.5 megawatt (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor at the U.S. Navy's Integrated Power System Land-Based Test Site in Philadelphia. This is the first successful full-power test of an electric propulsion motor sized for a large Navy combatant and, at 36.5 megawatts, doubled the Navy's power rating test record.

This system was designed and built under a contract from the Office of Naval Research to demonstrate the efficacy of HTS motors as the primary propulsion technology for future Navy all-electric ships and submarines. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) funded and led the successful testing of the motor.

Incorporating coils of HTS wire that are able to carry 150 times the power of similar-sized copper wire, the motor is less than half the size of conventional motors used on the first two DDG-1000 hulls and will reduce ship weight by nearly 200 metric tons. It will help make new ships more fuel-efficient and free up space for additional warfighting capability.

"The successful load test of our HTS motor marks the beginning of a new era in ship propulsion technology," said Dan McGahn, senior vice president and general manager of AMSC Superconductors. "This motor provides the U.S. Navy with a truly transformational capability relative to size, stealth, endurance and survivability, providing our Navy with a clear performance advantage for years to come. We are grateful for the steadfast support from the Office of Naval Research, Naval Sea Systems Command and the Naval Surface Warfare Center."

AMSC and Northrop Grumman shared the work under a formal business agreement, with AMSC serving as the prime contractor for the research and development phase.

"HTS technology offers the Navy a power-dense propulsion solution, and it will save money," said Donna Potter, director of the Development &

Integration business at Northrop Grumman'sSunnyvale, Calif.-based Marine Systems business unit. "Whether the Navy uses the size and weight savings to make ships lighter and more fuel-efficient, or to pack more capabilities onto fewer ships, the end result is the same: more capability for the warfighter at less cost to the taxpayer."

Earlier in 2008, the Navy successfully installed another HTS system - an HTS degaussing coil - onboard the USS HIGGINS (DDG 76). Powered by AMSC's HTS wire and magnet cable technology, the coil system will undergo sea trials over the next two years onboard the HIGGINS. Similar to the motor, degaussing coils utilizing HTS wire will significantly reduce system weight for DDG 1000-class ships, landing platform dock (LPD) ships, and for the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

The Navy has invested more than $100 million in the development of HTS technology, paving the way not only for use in Navy ships but also in commercial vessels, such as cruise liners and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, which can also take advantage of the space and efficiency benefits of HTS motors. To learn more about the advantages of HTS motors, please visit AMSC in Booth #205 at the Surface Navy Association's 21st National Symposium, taking place through January 15, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, Virginia. More information can also be found at http://www.amsc.com/products/motorsgenerators/shipPropulsion.html.

HTS rotating machine technology is also being applied to the renewable energy industry. Wind generator systems utilizing HTS wire instead of copper wire are expected to be much smaller, lighter and more efficient than current systems. This will lower the cost of wind-generated electricity - particularly for offshore wind farms.

About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

About American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC)

AMSC is a leading energy technologies company offering an array of solutions based on two proprietary technologies: programmable power electronic converters and high temperature superconductor (HTS) wires. The company's products, services and system-level solutions enable cleaner, more efficient and more reliable generation, delivery and use of electric power. AMSC is a leader in alternative energy, offering licensed wind turbine designs and electrical systems. As the world's principal supplier of HTS wire, the company is enabling a new generation of compact, high-power electrical products, including power cables, grid-level surge protectors, Secure Super Grids™ technology, motors, generators, and advanced transportation and defense systems. AMSC also provides utility and industrial customers worldwide with voltage regulation systems that dramatically enhance power grid capacity, reliability and security, as well as industrial productivity. The company's technologies are protected by a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio consisting of hundreds of patents and licenses worldwide. More information is available at www.amsc.com.

American Superconductor and design, Revolutionizing the Way the World Uses Electricity, AMSC, Powered by AMSC, D-VAR, PQ-IVR, PowerModule, Secure Super Grids, Windtec and SuperGEAR are trademarks or registered trademarks of American Superconductor Corporation or its subsidiaries.

Any statements in this release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the company, including our expectations regarding the future financial performance of the company and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will" and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include: uncertainties regarding the company's ability to obtain anticipated funding from corporate and government contracts, to successfully develop, manufacture and market commercial products, and to secure anticipated orders; the risk that a robust market may not develop for the company's products; the risk that strategic alliances and other contracts may be terminated; the risk that certain technologies utilized by the company will infringe intellectual property rights of others; and the competition encountered by the company. Reference is made to these and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the company's most recent quarterly or annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the company's views as of the date of this release. While the company anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause the company's views to change, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any date subsequent to the date this press release is issued.

CONTACT: American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC)
Jason Fredette, 978-842-3177
Director of Investor & Media Relations
jfredette@amsc.com
or
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Tom Delaney, 410-993-6454
Thomas.delaney@ngc.com

Source: American Superconductor Corporation