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Electric Actuation of Submarine Control Surfaces

Paper presented to the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) Conference 2018

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Presented by Cameron Williamson

The availability of high power and high precision Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) mean that a fully electric linear actuator is now possible, as an alternative to hydraulic drive actuation. This design would involve using a VFD to control an electric motor, which would then be coupled to the control surface tiller arm by a mechanical arrangement, which converts the rotational motion into linear movement providing a mechanical advantage.

Hydraulic and electric linear actuators each have their own advantages, with different considerations to be taken at the boat construction stage. However, if the shipbuilder wishes to pursue the objective of a fully electric submarine, there is now a viable option for control surface actuation.

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