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Dr. James C. Dowd, PE and Michael E. Fitzgerald, PE

Award: “Jimmie” Hamilton Award
Year: 2021
Recipients: Dr. James C. Dowd, PE and Michael E. Fitzgerald, PE
Reason:For the best original paper published in the Naval Engineers Journal during 2021; “Rethinking Propulsion Machinery Instrumentation for Autonomous Operations”  


The technical paper “Rethinking Propulsion Machinery Instrumentation for Autonomous Operations” introduces current trends in the development of machinery automation, the approach of machinery control for autonomous platforms in the commercial sector, and the divergent requirements of naval autonomous vehicles (UxVs). The paper then provides a focused review of current speci¬fications and design approaches for propulsion machinery (e.g., Prime Movers, Reduction Gears, and Shafting elements) and identifies gaps in the currently used instrumentation’s ability to provide adequate sensing capabilities to support operations ranging from reduced manning to fully autono¬mous operations, and also considers the advantages of new or improved instrumentation to enable Condition Based Maintenance (CBM).

Many of the current propulsion machinery related Military Specifications (MIL Spec) provide requirements for equipment that did not consider the increasing levels of automation of machinery systems and the desire to deliver platforms capable of operating autonomously.

By considering common ship¬board causalities against the capability of currently specified or installed machinery, this paper identifies current gaps and provides recommendations for improving sensing capabili-ty, increasing system reliability, and strengthening platform resiliency.