Aero-engine makerÂ Rolls-Royce has landed its largest-ever order in the naval ship market – a contract that positions its Patchway plant in Bristol at the forefront of this fast-growing market.
The new contract is to supply its MT30 gas turbines and waterjets for 10 of the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) which patrol the country’s territorial waters close to the shore.
No value was put on the order to supply the vessels, made by US defence firmÂ Lockheed Martin, but it is believed to be worth several hundred million pounds.
The MT30 is derived fromÂ Rolls-RoyceÂ aero-engine technology and its Patchway plant – the firm’s main UK base for military engines – has played a key role in its development, including assembly and testing.
The engine, which has also been chosen by the UK MoD to power the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, enable the US ships to reach speeds higher than 40 knots -making them highly manoeuvrable, able to operate in shallow waters and to stop and accelerate quickly.
Andrew Marsh,Â Rolls-RoyceÂ president – naval, said: “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 per cent complete and remains on cost and on schedule.
“TheÂ Rolls-RoyceÂ equipment combines to give an effective and efficient propulsion system perfectly suited for these innovative, highly-manoeuvrable, state-of-the-art ships.”
The MT30 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 waterjets are among the largest produced byÂ Rolls-RoyceÂ and can pump water at a combined rate of 25,000 gallons per second — enough to fill an Olympic style swimming pool in 25 seconds.
In addition to gas turbines and waterjets, a significant range ofÂ Rolls-RoyceÂ equipment is specified in the Lockheed Martin design, including shaftlines, bearings and propulsion system software.