Rolls-Royce completes first propeller and gas turbine for Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier programme

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has completed two significant milestones for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, with completion of the first propeller and the successful testing of the vessels’ first 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.

The Kamewa Adjustable Bolted Propeller is manufactured from nickel aluminium bronze and features five blades mounted on a central hub – there will be two on each of the aircraft carriers.

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.

Rolls-Royce is part of a ‘sub-alliance’ team comprising Thales, Converteam and L-3 which has overall responsibility for delivery of the entire power and propulsion system.

Richard Dingley, Rolls-Royce Director Programmes - Naval said: “The delivery of these two major components is a significant achievement for everyone involved in the QE Class programme. The gas turbines will, through an innovative electrical system, provide the power needed to turn the propellers and drive these huge vessels through the water at speeds of up to 25 knots.

“We are extremely proud to be involved in the development of these vessels, working alongside our many partners in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to supply mission-critical technology and systems.”

Tony Graham, head of Capital Ships at the Ministry of Defence, visited the Bristol test facility and gas turbine build line recently to see progress on the project. He said: “The heart of the ship is now beating. These engines will breathe life into the steel hull and are another demonstration of the progress being made.”

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 MT30 is the most powerful available gas turbine in the marine market today and on the carriers will form part of an integrated electric propulsion system which includes the giant propellers and propeller shafts as well as rudders, thrust bearings and low-voltage electrical systems.

  1. Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.
  2. As a result of this strategy, Rolls-Royce today has a broad customer base comprising more than 600 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 2,000 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in nearly 120 countries, with an installed base of 54,000 gas turbines.
  3. Rolls-Royce employs over 38,000 skilled people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in 50 countries. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment, and to further developing employee skills.
  4. In 2009, Rolls-Royce invested £864 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental aspects of its products, in particular the reduction of emissions.
  5. Annual underlying revenues were £10.1 billion in 2009, of which about half came from services revenues. The firm and announced order book stood at £58.3 billion at 31 December 2009, providing visibility of future levels of activity.
  6. The Marine business of Rolls-Royce employs 8,000 people in 34 countries with the main manufacturing centres being in the UK, the Nordic countries, the United States and increasingly Asia.
  7. Rolls-Royce is a world leader in marine solutions, providing products, service and expertise to more than 30,000 vessels in the offshore, merchant, naval surface and submarine markets. It designs ships and its product range includes propulsion systems featuring diesel engines and gas turbines, propellers, thrusters and water jets. Rolls-Royce also provides manoeuvring and stabilising systems and deck machinery. Around 30 per cent of Marine turnover is derived from service support activity, with a global network of sales and service offices in 34 countries. Rolls-Royce equipment is in service with more than 70 navies.
  8. The Power and Propulsion Sub-Alliance comprises of Thales UK (acting on behalf of the Main Alliance), Rolls-Royce, Converteam and L3, and is responsible for the design, procurement, manufacture, integration, test and delivery of the Integrated Electric Propulsion System.
  9. 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 well 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, making this a truly national programme.
  10. Rolls-Royce continues to invest in core technologies, products, people and capabilities with the objective of broadening and strengthening the product portfolio, improving efficiency and enhancing the environmental performance of its products.
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