• Mercury Marine Oddities & Rarities – Part 1: Military

    Fred Kiekhaefer and I were talking about some of the unique projects Mercury Racing has been involved with over the years. I thought you would find our odd projects and rare products interesting as well.

    Turbine. The experimental Mercury turbine outboard was built in alliance with Marine Turbine Technology (MTT) , LLC of Franklin, LA. The engine featured a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine (helicopter) engine mounted to a 2.5 EFI Offshore mid section and a Sport Master or Torque Master gearcase.

    The 320 h.p. engine was developed in the late 1990s in response to the then pending Department of Defense mandate that all gasoline be removed from ships by 2010. The turbine was light – weighing in at 200 pounds – about the weight of a 2-stroke 50 h.p. outboard. And it was multi-fuel compatible – with the ability to run on diesel, kerosene and JP4 jet fuel. MTT founder Ted McIntyre brought a turbine outboard powered landing craft to the 2001 Mercury Dealer Conference in Orlando, Fla. The boat stopped traffic every time the turbine spooled up to 51,000 RPM as it hauled awe-struck media and dealers around the lake. I went for a ride. I remember it was loud and I distinctly remember the fumes.

    The Mercury turbine outboard featured a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine engine. The engine was mounted on a Mercury 2.5 EFI Offshore mid section and either a Sport Master (shown here) or Torque Master gearcase.


    Jet fuel. As time moved on and the military requirements became more defined – we set a course to develop a multi-fuel engine based on a conventional 2-stroke internal combustion engine design. The OptiMax JP outboard is based on the 3.0 Liter V-6 OptiMax direct fuel injected, low emissions, 2-stroke engine. The 185 h.p. engine runs on JP5, JP8 and Commercial Jet-A fuels. The move to a multi-fuel engine based on existing consumer low-emissions 2-stroke technology is much more cost effective than alternative power sources. The OptiMax JP has been deployed and is serving military agencies in critical missions around the globe.

    These are just two of the unique projects and products I’ve been exposed to in my short 23 year career here at Mercury Racing. The guy who really can tell some interesting stories is Fred Kiekhaefer. He’s seen it all. Visit the Mercury Blog here!
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Rich Owen's Avatar
      Rich Owen -
      Interesting , thanks bud !
    1. HStream1's Avatar
      HStream1 -
      Interesting Read. So where can i get me one .
    1. luv2gofast's Avatar
      luv2gofast -
      Very cool! Thanks
    1. Skatin's Avatar
      Skatin -
      I spoke to them about purchasing 3 for my boat. They said I would have to purchase 10 for them to consider building them. Anyone interested?
    1. donster's Avatar
      donster -
      Quote Originally Posted by Skatin View Post
      I spoke to them about purchasing 3 for my boat. They said I would have to purchase 10 for them to consider building them. Anyone interested?
      I am very interested if the price isn't totally outrageous. I can only imagine how long you can hold high speeds without worrying about bustin it like a drag motor.
    1. Radical's Avatar
      Radical -
      So that's it? What is not available, never will be; and can't be produced. Reads like our space program. Yawn.
    1. Radical's Avatar
      Radical -
      This will get ugly!
    1. strongback's Avatar
      strongback -
      wakeboarding while roasting a weenie!! Thanks for the story! NICE.
    1. Radical's Avatar
      Radical -
      Quote Originally Posted by Radical View Post
      This will get ugly!
      "about the weight of a 2-stroke 50 h.p. outboard."

      Thanks for that dinosaur Cadillac V-8 outboard instead. !LOL (which means not funny)
    1. albypine's Avatar
      albypine -
      I am sure Greg has a few that need to be tested..... who will be the lucky person to have one..I would be more then glad to test it and post lot's of picture's long as it's over 400 hp and run's perfect like my diamond motor
    1. Radical's Avatar
      Radical -
      Dude, seriously; reciprocating motors, yawn! Not even open to opinion; imo\
    1. pcrussell50's Avatar
      pcrussell50 -
      even if they did build them, new gas turbines tend to cost 10 to 50 times the price per horsepower of recips. where recip builders use tolerances in the thousandths of and inch, turbines are built to the 10-thousandths of an inch. although sometimes you can score deals on used aviation turbines that no longer meet aerospace standards for dispatching reliability, but will be perfectly fine for surface use. i think this is how a lot of people come by them for jet cars and boats.-peter
    1. michael_m's Avatar
      michael_m -
      Very cool I bet the cost on that would set you back
    1. CSD23's Avatar
      CSD23 -
      Very interesting read, wish there was a good video of it running.
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