GE Marine Engines has received partial funding from Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss. to begin the engineering work on equipment to be used on the U.S. Navy's eighth LHD Wasp-class large-deck, multipurpose amphibious assault ship.
This LHD project represents several milestones. The ship will be powered by two GE LM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbines, with GE main reduction gearing (two gearboxes). This marks the first military application of GE's LM2500+ gas turbine. Currently there are 20 LM2500+ in or slated for operation worldwide on various commercial fast ferries and cruise ships, with an additional 74 units in diverse power generation applications.
The LM2500+s each will have the U.S. Navy rating of 35,000 shaft horsepower for the LHD application. GE expects to finalize the U.S. Navy certification for this rating by the end of 2001.
The ship will also feature a unique hybrid electric drive system, with electric motors providing propulsion power at low loitering speeds. The previous seven LHD ships, also designed and built by Ingalls, were powered by steam propulsion systems.
Six of the huge ships, designed to carry some 2,000 Marines, have already been delivered to the U.S. Navy by Ingalls, and are active in the Fleet. LHD 7, recently christened Iwo Jima, is under construction and will be delivered in mid-2001.
As the large-deck centerpiece of a Navy/Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group, LHDs embark, transport, deploy, command and fully support a Marine Expeditionary Unit. The ships are fully capable of amphibious assault, advance force and special purpose operations, as well as noncombatant evacuation and other humanitarian missions. The ships are 844 feet long and displace 40,500 tons.
The LM2500+ gas turbines will be manufactured at GE Marine Engines' Evendale, Ohio facility; the gearboxes will be built at GE's Lynn, Mass. plant. GE expects to receive the remainder of the funding for this project later in 2001.