Fishing & Boating News

Innovative Turbine-Powered Mercury Racing Outboard -- Efficient Design Delivers Exceptional Power to Weight Ratio

Versatile Applications Include 26-foot Military Landing Craft

by: Rick Mackie, Mercury Racing, Mercury Marine

(11/27/2000 - Fond du Lac, WI) Marine Turbine Technologies (MTT) of Franklin, LA has developed an innovative turbine-powered Mercury Racing Outboard. The experimental outboard features a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine engine mounted to a Mercury Racing 2.5 EFI Offshore outboard center section and 1.87:1 gear ratio Torque Master gearcase. The lightweight, 320 horsepower outboard is being tested on a 26-foot aluminum hull landing craft built by Munson Boat Works. The 4500-pound boat, loaded with four people and a Jeep, is capable of reaching speeds up to 40 mph.

Overcoming water resistance requires the continuous operation of marine engines at 70 percent or more of their full power in order to maintain cruising speeds. Like marine engines, aircraft engines also experience continuous operation above 70 percent of their available power in order to keep an aircraft flying. Current availability of surplus aircraft turbine engines, which can be refurbished at reasonable cost, has brought turbines into the marine propulsion picture. The turbine engine, designed to run continuously at high power settings, is very reliable due to no reciprocating parts. In addition, it provides a higher power-to-weight ratio in a smaller size than either diesel or gasoline engines. A production version of the turbine-powered Mercury Racing Outboard could be a perfect alternative power source for U.S. Navy special operations forces as a substitute for gasoline powered outboard motors.

MTT founder Ted McIntyre is well known for his design of highly competitive turbine powered offshore race boats. Founded in 1990, MTT has perfected its knowledge of marine turbine installations and often is referred to as the marine turbine experts. Their engines have been featured in several government demonstrations to promote the feasibility and benefits of using turbine engines in government patrol boats and various military craft.

Munson Landing Craft Specifications
Length26-feet
Fuel Capacity100 Gallons (twin 50-gallon tanks)
Horsepower320
EngineRolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine/Mercury Racing
2.5 EFI Offshore Outboard
Engine WeightApprox: 140 lbs. (less center section and gearcase)
FuelDiesel, kerosene jp4
Charging System150 Amp DC generator