GE Upgrades Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Fleet Tankers

Thursday, January 24, 2013
(Photo: Crown)

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships WAVE KNIGHT and WAVE RULER Receive New Integrated Platform Management Systems

GE’s Power Conversion (NYSE: GE) business has started fitting the latest generation of Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships Wave Knight and Wave Ruler. The technology is designed extend the life and versatility of the IPMS fitted to the two ships, helping the RFA to maintain at-sea supply capabilities in supporting the Royal Navy’s global maritime operations. The IPMS includes machinery control and surveillance, damage surveillance and control, electrical power control and management and Replenishment at Sea (RAS) functions.

The current update is a planned program in which GE will coordinate with the RFA and with the selected shipyard to decommission the previous generation equipment and replace it in phases to suit each ship’s ongoing operational commitments. The work is expected to be completed by early 2014.
The new IPMS complements the electric power and propulsion system on the ships as it was originally delivered by GE (at that time Alstom Power Conversion) during the construction in 2002. The IPMS update will maintain the core functionality of the original design and will manage component and system level obsolescence while providing an opportunity to enhance the system with new features including GE’s distributed information recording and display (DIRAD) system, which is set to be installed on WAVE RULER.

The DIRAD system is essentially an electronic damage control incident board system. It uses straightforward graphics to display damage control and firefighting incidents of all types in stations distributed throughout the ship. DIRAD will be embedded within WAVE RULER’s IPMS operator human machine interface as a part of the current update program, thereby giving the RFA a trial fit for evaluation.

The replacement IPMS will be built and tested at one of GE’s U.K. test facilities before being delivered to the ship. Each element of the replacement system will be tested under simulation prior to delivery in order to reduce the risk of incompatibility with the existing ship systems. “This upgrade will improve and modernize the ships’ systems with a cost-effective solution that provides much faster control response while also improving reliability and extending service life,” said Barry Carr, manager, Naval Service for GE’s Power Conversion business. 


The Wave class fast fleet replenishment tankers are operated by the RFA and are designed to support Royal Naval warships worldwide. Built to a commercial standard with military requirements being incorporated only where required, their primary role is replenishment at sea. However, with a large helicopter flight deck, ability to deploy small boats and being fitted with close in weapons systems, they are versatile vessels.
GE acquired Power Conversion (then known as Converteam) in September 2011.

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