The selection of an engine and power source for a small, one-man, diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) for potential use in a minefield is the topic of this paper. The stringent requirements of minimal magnetic and acoustic signatures, low detectability, diver safety, and operation in a wide range of environmental conditions prevented the use of standard engine configurations. Other system requirements include two man portability, 10 mile range, 2 knot minimum speed, variable speed control, multiple start/stop capability, 0–300 fsw depth range, 29 °F to 95 °F operating temperature range, and −40°F to 140°F storage temperature range.
Several different engine technologies were considered, including electric motors, internal combustion engines, external combustion engines, piezoelectric motors, magneto hydrodynamic engines, and pneumatic engines. Most contenders were quickly eliminated because of their magnetic and/or acoustic signatures. Diesel, Rankine, and Stirling engines were determined to be the best candidates.
Candidate power sources were also evaluated. These included batteries, fuel cells, nuclear, and chemical power. Many of these were eliminated because of the safety consideration and others were eliminated because of the incompatibility with the engine. Hydrocarbon combustion was chosen because of its high specific energy and compatibility with candidate engines.
Candidate engine and power source technologies were evaluated for their ability to meet system requirements. The Stirling engine and the hydrocarbon combustor were selected as the most promising technologies for engine and power source prototype development This paper discusses the reason for the selection of these technologies.