The U.K. Ministry of Defense has engaged in a major program to update and upgrade its current fleet of frigates. In the next decade, Type 26 Global Combat Ships will become the backbone of the Royal Navy, replacing its existing Type 23 Frigates.
The Type 26 will incorporate the latest in hybrid propulsion technology: at low speeds, it will run on an electric drive system, while at high speeds, it will take power from the gas turbine. GE’s Power Conversion business has won the design, development and assessment (DDA) contract to provide the electric propulsion system.
Mark Dannatt, naval business leader for GE’s Power Conversion business, said, “Over the last 25 years, we have supplied electrical power and propulsion systems for the majority of the Royal Navy’s surface warships. We have recently built the electric power and propulsion system for the U.K.’s two new aircraft carriers being assembled at Rosyth, and we are now designing the electric power and propulsion system for the four Royal Fleet Auxiliary MARS tankers to be built in South Korea.”
Under current plans, 13 Type 26 Global Combat ships will be delivered to the Royal Navy.
A key requirement was that the ship’s propulsion system had to be very quiet in order to maximize the operability of the 13 Type 26 ships. “The motors we will be supplying are very quiet, due in large part to the use of patented anti-vibration technology,” Dannatt added. “Reducing radiated noise from the motor makes it exceptionally quiet, which is obviously very important for naval operations.”