The navy is
building its next generation of warships, mainly the CVN21 carriers and Zumwalt
class destroyer, with much larger electrical generation capacity. This is in
preparation for new weapons and equipment that are electrically powered. But
items like rail guns, electromagnetic catapults, laser and microwave weapons,
and electromagnetic armor (Dynamic Armor Protection System, or DAPS), require
far more electricity than generators on these new ships can provide.
All-electric propulsion systems are century old technology, and still quite
useful. But the electrically powered weapons and protection systems have to be
refined so they draw less power, before they become viable. This is expected to
take a decade, or more. This is frustrating for warship designers, because
these new weapons and devices have been shown to work in the lab, but require
unavailable amounts of electricity when installed on warships.