Lockheed Martin and a Cooler Future for the U.S. Navy
Four refrigerator-sized Electronic Equipment Fluid Cabinet (EEFC) units can replace two hefty legacy watercoolers and tons of associated piping, thereby more efficiently cooling vital shipboard electronics.
Technological innovations are to be expected aboard the U.S. Navy’s fleet of Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, but not every innovation needs to be big and showy to make a ship more efficient in combat. Sometimes the future of naval combat comes in the form of something roughly a little bigger than the average kitchen refrigerator. Introducing the Electronic Equipment Fluid Cabinet (EEFC).
As any computer user knows: the harder electronics work, the hotter they get. EEFC is Lockheed Martin’s solution to the ongoing problem of how to keep shipboard electronics cool and working properly. As the Aegis Combat System engineering agent, Lockheed Martin never stops looking for ways to improve Aegis-equipped ships.
Four, point of service EEFC units will replace two mammoth 10,000-pound pumping units so large that each new destroyer literally needs to be built around them at the start of construction. EEFCs will replace the original two units and thousands of additional pounds worth of piping, valves and associated support equipment.
“And just like that you have a ship and combat system that is lighter, less expensive, and more survivable, since it doesn’t have to rely on a ship-wide, centralized cooling system,” said Chris Minster, senior manager for Ship Integration & Test. “The EEFC readily supports modular combat system designs, which is a desirable approach as the Navy seeks to provide more capability in less time during ship installation periods. Ship Integration & Test continues to lead the way toward modular solutions to our customers’ challenges.”
Going forward, EEFC is an official part of the Aegis Combat System and a program of record change for the U.S. Navy. The first production units are due to go to sea aboard USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), a future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It is one way that Lockheed Martin’s Ship Integration & Test (SI&T) team is engineering a better tomorrow for the U.S. Navy.
The program began in response to a Navy query to see if the original cooling system could be made simpler and not rely on demineralized water. A change to freshwater could result in certain operational efficiencies, it was reasoned. The results of testing went so well, Lockheed Martin’s SI&T team began researching other ways to improve the electronics cooling, which ultimately led to the development of the EEFC.
The new EEFCs are compatible with nearly any naval platform, not just Aegis-equipped ships, and provide a modular solution for keeping equipment cooled in cramp spaces.
“Anything we can do to increase automation and save the time of sailors saves money and ups their working efficiency,” said Minster. “This is one example how Lockheed Martin SI&T can leverage our experience and knowledge to anticipate—and deliver on—the needs of our customers.”