Ground & Naval Defense


The Ground and Naval Defense group specializes in robust, commercially derived electromechanical actuation solutions for ground defense vehicles and navy vessels. Our portfolio includes linear and rotary commercial designs that speed time to deployment and provide a clean, efficient, and powerful alternative to traditional hydraulics. Learn more about how our solutions help lower energy demands, improve effectiveness, and reduce the total cost of ownership.

Electromechanical actuators

Linear electromechanical actuators (EMA) have proven to be a direct replacement for linear hydraulic actuators. EMAs can effectively reduce lifecycle costs by eliminating the need for hydraulic fluids, filters, and the associated maintenance of these technologies.


The primary benefits of electromechanical actuation over hydraulic actuation include:

  • Lower maintenance effort
  • Simplified control of speed, force & position
  • Higher energy efficiency with a wide force range
  • Long service life, meaning a lower total life-cycle cost
  • Modular, scalable and compact design to reduce size and weight
  • Design flexibility with numerous MCOTS and CITS offerings
  • US designed, US-built to meet various specifications

Most linear EMAs convert the rotary motion of electric motors to linear motion. This can be done through various screw mechanisms (Acme screw, ball screw, planetary roller screw, etc.).

Actuators in Naval Defense Markets

Hydraulic actuators, commonly known as “cylinders,” have been used on ground and naval defense platforms for decades. Hydraulic cylinders have very high force to size ratios, making them very popular on military vehicles. Although once ground and naval defense platform designers began to recognize the benefits of using all electronics on some vehicles and programs, linear EMAs were quickly seen as a direct replacement to hydraulics.

While linear EMAs can directly drop into hydraulic systems, many linear systems can be converted to rotary EMAs for additional benefits. High-torque rotary actuators are an excellent replacement in the actuation of many hinged components such as::

  • Ramps
  • Doors
  • Hatches
  • Radar deployment
  • Gun elevation
  • Missile launch elevation

Naval Defense Applications

  • Hatches
  • Towed arrays
  • Valve controls
  • Weapon handling systems
  • Carrier Flight Deck operations
  • Position Turrets

Jet Blast Deflector Onboard Aircraft Carriers

A jet blast deflector (JBD) is raised behind the engines of a plane before it takes off. These JBDs are used to protect other aircraft and crew from the hot exhaust gases of the airplane that is about to take off.

A linear actuator pushes a lever arm attached to a rotating shaft which then rotates two sets of two linkages to raise the JBD. This whole actuator and linkage system can be replaced by a set of electromechanical rotary actuators and single linkages.

What are the benefits for naval defense when switching to a rotary actuator?

Weight, space, and complexity can be saved by switching to a rotary actuator. 
The smaller size allows for easier installation and maintenance in the cramped spaces aboard naval ships. In addition, on smaller vessels, the weight savings can be significant enough to qualify for more payload to be carried in place of the older actuation units.

What is a rotary electromechanical actuator?

Rotary EMAs are more compact, more efficient, and more easily maintained than linear actuators. Therefore, if the system allows for a rotary actuator, a Curtiss-Wright PH series rotary actuator is the best solution to an actuation system.

What is an actuator?

An actuator is the end effector of any high-force mechanical motion control system. 

Curtiss Wright Naval Defence Actuation Technology

Ever-increasing demands to reduce energy dependence while increasing user safety and capabilities can present significant challenges in the development and support of naval vessels. Converting to electromechanical actuation technology is the ideal solution to help lower energy demands, increase operational effectiveness, and reduce ownership costs. And with Curtiss Wright’s wide selection of modified commercial off-the-shelf (MCOTS) and COTS electric actuators, we offer many solutions for Naval applications.

Curtiss-Wright’s Exlar® brand of roller screw electric actuators addresses all demands, all with the benefit of a clean, efficient and robust solution in the smallest package possible. This means no hydraulic fluid leaks, lower maintenance costs, and significantly reduced noise levels. 

Our flexible designs also allow Original Equipment Manufacturers a fast route to market and simplified operation and maintenance, which leads to a lower total cost of ownership for many shipboard systems. Increasing electric operation can also eliminate or reduce the need for ancillary equipment such as compressors, pumps, hoses, and hydraulic fluids, thus reducing weight, logistic costs, and maintenance.

Trusted on many U.S. Naval platforms, the reliability and robustness of our technology are unmatched. Our products meet various specifications and requirements such as temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration while providing the same power as hydraulic systems. 

By combining performance and size advantages, Curtiss-Wright is dedicated to maximizing efficiencies in power while safeguarding equipment, reducing lifecycle costs and
protecting our servicemen and women at sea.

Further Information

The Actuation Division provides specialized and innovative technologies to the Naval Defense markets worldwide. 

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