Smooth sailing for carriers

Posted on 14 Apr 2010 by The Manufacturer

Rolls-Royce has reached two milestones for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, with completion of the first propeller and the successful testing of the vessels’ MT30 gas turbine.

The propeller, measuring almost seven metres in diameter and weighing 33 tonnes, has completed acceptance tests at the Rolls-Royce facility in Kristinehamn, Sweden. Rolls-Royce is also supplying shaft lines which will link each of the vessels’ two propellers with the power source. Each propeller will deliver around 50,000 horse-power — the highest power Kamewa propeller ever developed by Rolls-Royce.

The first of four MT30s for the two 65,000 tonne vessels also passed a programme of stringent tests and certification at the Rolls-Royce Marine test facility in Bristol, where the gas turbine was operated across a range of load conditions up to the maximum power output of 36MW.

Matt Pollitt, Rolls-Royce test integration and support manager and his team carried out the MT30 test. He said: “The gas turbine performed as expected during the tests, which simulated what you would see from the bridge of the ship in a range of different sea conditions.

“We put the engine through rigorous tests, including what happens when the ship rapidly demands either large amounts of power or large reductions in power due to propulsion motor trips. The engine coped well with such extreme load characteristics, and I’m pleased to say it passed its Lloyd’s certification too.”

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a single integrated team formed from Babcock, BAE Systems, Thales UK and the MoD (which acts as both partner and client.) It is responsible for delivering the Queen Elizabeth Class ships to time and cost. The build programme for the first ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is underway across the UK at ship yards in Appledore, Glasgow, Portsmouth Rosyth and Tyneside. Around £1.2bn of £1.5bn worth of subcontracts have already been placed with suppliers in almost every region of the UK.