GE Targets LCS Business

Monday, March 06, 2006
GE – Marine has been issued updated certification from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for its LM2500 aeroderivative marine gas turbine. The amended certification reflects compliance to “2004 Naval Vessel Rules 2-3-1,” qualifying the LM2500 gas turbine to be applied in the propulsion system for the United States Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

“The updated ABS certification – coupled with the LM2500’s compliance with existing ABS rules – was the last step necessary to qualify the LM2500 gas turbine for use in General Dynamics’ LCS propulsion system,” said Karl Matson, general manager, GE – Marine, Evendale, Ohio.

“This is yet another significant milestone in the evolution of the LM2500 that enables this popular gas turbine to be applied in one of the most state-of-the-art military combatant applications in the world today,” Matson added.

The LCS Program

The U.S. Navy selected prime contractor Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, for one LCS design. The General Dynamics LCS is an agile, stealthy surface combatant that can be deployed independently to overseas littoral regions, can remain on station for extended periods of time either with a battle group or through a forward-basing arrangement, and is capable of underway replenishment.

Austal is the sea frame designer and builder in the General Dynamics team. Austal’s unique trimaran hull platform features two LM2500 gas turbines and two diesel engines configured into a COmbined Diesel And Gas turbine (CODAG) arrangement, with four steerable waterjets and one steerable thruster. The LCS has a 127.1-meter length, 30.4-meter beam, 4.5-meter draft and a sprint speed of 40 knots.

During a January 19, 2006 ceremony, the keel of the General Dynamics LCS was laid at Austal’s U.S. shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Delivery of the LCS is expected in late 2007, with commissioning thereafter in 2008.

“The design and construction of the LCS is a culmination of 17 years of continuous development by Austal of high-speed aluminum technology,” said John Rothwell, executive chairman of Austal. “The first LCS signifies a momentous occasion in the history of Austal as an Australian shipbuilding company, now designing and building the most revolutionary warship for the world’s most powerful navy. We are confident we have developed a design that incorporates the best systems and technology,” Rothwell added.

In fact, GE provided two LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines as the main propulsion on the Austal-built fast ferry H/F Villum Clausen, Hull 96. In February 2000, this fast ferry traveled 1,060 nautical miles at an average speed of 44 knots with a maximum speed of 47 knots to set a new world’s distance record -- beating the previous world record by 50 nautical miles.

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