LCS2 “Light Off” Successful
Sea trials of the US Navy’s landmark Austal-designed and built 127-m Littoral Combat Ship “Independence” (LCS 2) are expected to commence within weeks following the successful light off of the vessel’s main engines. Austal completed light off of the vessel’s four propulsion engines - two 22,000kW GE LM2500 gas turbines and two MTU 9,100kW 20V 8000 M71 diesels - following the fuel load and the testing of all four generators. Activation and testing of the combat and other systems onboard “” is continuing at Austal’s facility in , with delivery of the vessel expected later in the year. Austal is the vessel designer and builder within the General Dynamics (GD) team, one of two consortiums involved in the US Navy’s LCS program, which ultimately calls for the construction of 55 Littoral Combat Ships. The vessel’s GE LM2500 gas turbines each develop 22,000kW (29,500 bhp). More than 750 of these gas turbines power the US Navy’s fleet, making it the standard workhorse engine in almost all US Navy surface combatant ships. In addition, they are installed in more than 400 other ships in 30 countries, including an Austal-designed and built fast ferry operating in . Delivering up to 9,100kW (12,200 bhp) of continuous power, the vessel’s MTU Series 8000 diesel engines have a fuel consumption of less than 190g/kWh, while achieving IMO MARPOL NOx emission certification. Austal has previously installed and commissioned 32 MTU 20V 8000 diesels, proven in operation on eight vessels over the past five years. These include four engines in the 127 metre trimaran “Benchijigua Express”, which has been successfully operating in the for over four years. Worldwide, MTU Series 8000 marine propulsion engines have completed more than 240,000 hours of operation.