Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, will supply gas turbines and waterjets for ten of the US Navy’s littoral combat ships (LCS). This is the group’s largest ever marine naval surface ship contract.
Designed to operate in combat zones close to the shore (littoral waters), each LCS will be equipped with two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines powering four large waterjets, enabling the vessels to reach speeds in excess of 40kn. With 36MW the MT30 is the world’s most powerful marine gas turbine. Combining this power with Rolls-Royce waterjets makes the LCS highly manoeuvrable, able to operate in shallow waters and to stop and accelerate quickly.
Rolls-Royce is already supplying propulsion equipment on the first two Lockheed Martin vessels and the announcement extends this with one firm order and options for a further nine ships of the same design.
Andrew Marsh, Rolls-Royce president naval said: “We are delighted that the Lockheed Martin design has been selected for an additional ten vessels in the LCS programme. We have worked closely with Lockheed Martin and other partners throughout the design, build and sea trials of the first vessel, USS Freedom, and are making good progress on the second ship, Fort Worth, which is more than 80% complete and remains on cost and on schedule.
“The Rolls-Royce equipment, including the MT30 gas turbines and waterjets, combine to give an effective and efficient propulsion system perfectly suited for these innovative, highly-manoeuvrable, state-of-the-art ships,” he continued.
The MT30 is derived from Rolls-Royce aero engine technology, building on over 45 million hours of operating experience and reliability. It also has the highest power density of any marine gas turbine – a key factor in naval propulsion where delivering a high power output in a compact space is essential. The MT30 is the latest development of Rolls-Royce marine gas turbines, and has also been selected for the UK Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and the US Navy’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer programme.
The waterjets are among the largest produced by Rolls-Royce and can pump water at a combined rate of 25,000gal/s – enough to fill an Olympic style swimming pool in 25s.
In addition to gas turbines and waterjets, a significant range of Rolls-Royce equipment is specified in the Lockheed Martin design, including shaftlines, bearings and propulsion system software.