Top Defence Capability Leaders 2020

© 2020 FrontLine Defence (Vol 17, No 1)

Rolls-Royce’s involvement in naval propulsion stretches back to 1938 when the first marine version of the legendary Merlin aero engine was installed in the UK’s Royal Navy Torpedo Boats. Today, Rolls-Royce continues to play a pivotal role in many of the world’s major defence programs, offering innovative solutions to fully meet the operational requirements of today and tomorrow for navies, coast guards and government-owned organizations.

Rolls-Royce is known as a pioneer in cutting-edge propulsion technology. Its MTU brand, for example, is world-renowned in high-speed diesel engines. Its portfolio includes many highly-efficient integrated power and propulsion solutions that are predominantly used in aerospace, marine, energy and off-highway applications. Through its worldwide network of manufacturing and service facilities, service and support are never far away.

The company has maintained a strong high tech presence in Canada since 1947, and today employs approximately 1,000 people across many sectors – including the Centre of Excellence for Naval Handling equipment in Peterborough, which produces complex naval handling systems in use around the world. Rolls-Royce continues to invest in Canada and earlier this year announced the construction of its Naval Handling facility expansion. 

Rolls-Royce is well established in the naval sector, offering a leading range of capabilities including gas turbines, propulsion, electrical and automation systems, deck handling and innovative unmanned technologies. The company’s expertise in the area of naval propulsion, which spans over half a century, has allowed them to pioneer some of the most important technical advances in marine propulsion, including the use of aero gas turbines for surface ship propulsion. 

21st Century Marine Gas Turbine Technology
Today, with gas turbines on a number of key naval programs, Rolls-Royce offers an extensive range of equipment for naval markets, including the design, supply and support of power and propulsion systems. More than 20 navies worldwide are currently operating Rolls-Royce marine gas turbines derived from aero technology.

The Rolls-Royce marine gas turbine range includes the MT30, considered the world’s most power-dense marine gas turbine. The MT30 was derived from the Rolls-Royce Trent aero engine family, which has more than 100 million service hours to date. As a fourth-generation engine, it incorporates the latest gas turbine technology to deliver efficiency with reliability, ensuring ultra-low maintenance requirements.

The Rolls-Royce portfolio also offers a combination of MTU and Bergen engines, greatly enhancing the existing range of propulsion equipment. Customers can choose from a range of medium and high-speed reciprocating engines, all based on innovative high quality, cost-efficient marine systems.

Rolls-Royce was chosen as the key power and propulsion equipment supplier for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship program. These vessels will feature a combined diesel-electric or gas-turbine propulsion configuration (CODLOG), comprising four MTU 20V 4000 M53B diesel gensets with a single Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine. The diesels provide power for on-board systems and cruise propulsion mode, while the gas turbine is utilized for high speeds.

Also selected for the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship is the Rolls-Royce Mission Bay Handling System (depicted in the artist’s rendering). This 100% Canadian system is both designed and manufactured in Peterborough, Ontario.

Rolls-Royce will be the first to provide an integrated and complex Mission Bay Handling system into a major combatant program. The Mission Bay Handling system offers flexibility and adaptability to “future-proof” the ship, whatever its mission. The system will enable the efficient movement of a wide variety of payloads including cargo, munitions, assorted crafts, and containerized mission modules within the mission bay. It also features a launch and recovery system to enable the rapid deployment and capture of small boats, unmanned vessels and submersibles in conditions up to sea state 6.


MT30 Marine Gas Turbine Technology

The “Mighty” MT30 marine gas turbine engine first entered service in 2008 – powering the US Navy’s first littoral Freedom Class combat ship, USS Freedom. 

Proven at sea, the MT30 can deliver its full power of 36MW-40MW in ambient temperatures up to 38°C with no degradation throughout the ship’s life. Incorporating the very latest gas turbine technology, its high power density, proven reliability and reduced through-life costs are making MT30 the engine of choice for the world’s most demanding naval platforms. 

The engine is currently in service with the Republic of Korea Navy’s latest RoKS Daegu, and has been selected to power the rest of the Daegu Class frigates. MT30 alternator packages power the UK Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, the US Navy’s Zumwalt Class multi-mission destroyers and the Italian Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock. 

Owing to its proven success at sea, MT30 will power the Type 26 Global Combat Ship variants, as well as  the new 30FFM frigate for Japan’s Maritime Defence Force.


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