Helps ensure vessels and rigs are reliable, safe and competitive in the marketplace. [image] Propulsion Remote Control upgrade solutions

Rolls-Royce has supplied remote controls for propellers and thrusters since the 1970s. We support these products through their lifecycles with upgrades that bring benefits to our customers from the latest developments in technology.

Customers operating old remote control systems are able to update their equipment with the latest system, Helicon-X3, which can be used on different types of vessels or rigs.

Helicon-X3 Joystick Lever 200x230pxThe Helicon-X3 manoeuvring station is comprised of a lever and touch screen. As a minimum, manoeuvring stations are usually located on the bridge or pilot house and in the engine control room, but up to 6 manoeuvring stations and additional access screens can be supplied to suit customer requirements.

The new system is a compact design with key functions integrated into the ergonomic lever. The modern touch screen interface allows operators to access and control multiple thruster installations on a single screen.

  • Helicon-X3 is simple and intuitive for crew to use, reducing risk of error and increasing safety.

  • Smoother operation from improved pitch control causes less wear and tear on the thrusters.

  • The system switches automatically between normal and back-up control to provide redundancy of pitch and azimuth control, which meets FMEA requirements for DP operations.

  • Ergonomic control levers and modern touch screens integrate easily in existing vessels as minimal space is required.

  • Components are based on a common control platform for seamless integration with other Rolls-Royce products and fewer spares are needed on-board.

  • Complete propulsion system performance is optimised when undertaking remote control upgrades, by applying our experience in complete vessel and system design.

  • Global 24/7 support is available from Rolls-Royce's extensive service network.


Rolls-Royce is a key supplier to the Transocean Leader rig and was invited to assist with planning maintenance activity in 2012. Transocean Leader is a semi-submersible rig that entered service in 1987, and until the upgrade, the four azimuth thrusters were operated by the original propulsion control system.

Rolls-Royce recommended that the rig should be upgraded to the Helicon-X3 propulsion control system. Working closely with the customer, the upgrade was planned for a major maintenance period when the rig would be off-hire for a month.

The scope of the project was substantial, including four new remote control units (Helicon-X3 standard), a new joystick and overhaul of the thrusters. The project was delivered by a team of skilled Rolls-Royce service engineers.

Once the work was complete, the operating stations were transformed – the compact Helicon-X3 levers and touch screen require very little space in the pilot house and engine control room. The upgrade was completed on plan and rig returned to service on schedule.