Continuous Track Outboard Motor for Watercraft Propulsion

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CRANE-103210
The U.S. Navy seeks a partner for licensing and collaboration on a watercraft propulsion system that takes advantage of a continuous track propulsion system while incorporating it into an outboard motor

Early methods of powering a boat included poles, oars, sails, and paddle wheel systems. These systems have been largely replaced by underwater propellers such as the screw propeller. Continuous track propulsion systems operate on the same principles as a paddle wheel, but offer an advantage because a large portion of the drive train is perpendicular to the water which offers better efficiency.

One current vehicle that can use a continuous track propulsion system on water is a snowmobile. The track drive system provides dynamic lift and keeps the nose of the snowmobile lifted allowing the skis to skim the surface of the water. However, when the snowmobile slows down or stops on the surface of the water, it skinks due to a lack of positive buoyancy and the loss of dynamic lift provided by the track drive system.

NSWC Crane has patented a watercraft propulsion system that takes advantage of a continuous track propulsion system while incorporating it into an outboard motor. The design can be easily fitted to boats that can accept a standard transom-mounted motor.
The continuous track propulsion system is better able to power boats through shallow water operations for military, search and rescue, and fishing by providing a reliable and simple drive mechanism with multiple advantages over alternative boats such as air boats, hovercraft, mud motors, and other amphibious propulsion systems.
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Utility Patent
United States
9,738,363
Aug 22, 2017
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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West Lafayette, IN 47906

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