Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has delivered the new and advanced Axial Mk1 waterjet for the latest Freedom-variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class, currently under construction for the U.S. Navy.
Rolls-Royce Axial Mk1 waterjets are very power dense, delivering more cavitation-free performance for their size and power than any other waterjet. At 22MW of power, a single waterjet of this scale can move almost half a million gallons of seawater per minute. Four of these waterjets will propel the LCS at speeds in excess of 40 knots.
This delivery marks the successful completion of the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) program for “Compact, High Power Density Waterjets”. This new, highly efficient waterjet will now be standard equipment for all future Freedom variants of the Littoral Combat Ships supplied to the U.S. Navy by Lockheed Martin.
Don Roussinos, Rolls-Royce, President - Naval Marine said: “It is exciting to see this product transition from research to production and delivery. We have been working closely with ONR since 2007 on this project, to ensure that the technology hurdles were overcome.”
Frank Lanni, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer - Waterjets - Naval Marine added: “Rolls-Royce has developed these waterjets to meet the high standards of efficiency and robustness demanded by U.S. Navy combatants, whilst incorporating proven commercial components and hardware to minimize costs and maximize the availability of the platform.We believe this product represents the standard by which all future designs will be measured.”
The delivery of these waterjets is the culmination of a successful teaming between industry, ONR, the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Carderock Division, and the LCS Program Office. The new waterjets are produced in the United States, with primary manufacturing activity at Rolls-Royce facilities in Walpole, Massachusetts and Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The underlying design of the Rolls-Royce Axial Mk1 waterjet has also been scaled for other research and development activity within the U.S. Navy. Last year the power dense waterjet was retrofitted on Sealion, the Special Operations test craft, for performance demonstration tests. Most recently, Rolls-Royce has provided the Navy's unmanned technology community with a 100mm diameter scaled design for the X-Class USV program MUSCL.
Rolls-Royce manufactures a wide range of waterjets that power craft ranging from small patrol boats, to naval ships and the world's largest high speed ferries. Waterjets provide high levels of manoeuvrability and efficiency and are particularly suited to vessels operating in shallow waters.