Lord Bach of Lutterworth, Minister for Defense Procurement for the U.K., visited ALSTOM Power Conversion last week to review the company’s progress on two major defense related projects. He went to Rugby to see the propulsion equipment and test facility for the first of the Royal Navy
’s new Type 45 Destroyers, HMS Daring, and then visited the Electric Ship Technology Demonstrator (ESTD) at ALSTOM in Whetstone, Leicestershire.
In April 2001, ALSTOM was awarded the contract to design and manufacture the electrical and power management systems, and to perform combined testing of the propulsion converters and advanced induction motors for the T45 Destroyer electric propulsion system. ALSTOM established
a unique test facility in Rugby to verify the performance of this crucial equipment before the warships enter service. The propulsion equipment is being demonstrated in a « back to back » configuration whose purpose is to demonstrate the operational performance of the equipment over its entire speed and power range. Testing so far has achieved all the power testing requirements and the signature measurements are currently underway.
ALSTOM won the contract to design, build and operate the ESTD demonstrator in Whetstone in July 2000. This program is jointly funded by the British and French Defense Ministries and its aim is to demonstrate and test the operation of novel concepts for advanced naval electric propulsion systems before applying the technology to warships. The ESTD is a shore test facility replicating one half of a future electric power and propulsion system for a warship. The equipment is put through rigorous tests to confirm its suitability for future warship use. The ESTD facility is also being used to undertake system integration trials for the Type 45 destroyer.
The ESTD is an important step towards providing the two countries’ navies – and potentially the navies of other nations – with all the benefits of Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP) for their future warships’ programs. Studies have shown that integrated propulsion systems can provide significant cost savings for naval and commercial vessels as well as offering build and operational advantages.
As well as currently being used on the Royal Navy’s T45 destroyer, ALSTOM’s IEP system is considered a contender in the UK for the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) and for the Future Carrier (CVF). France is also considering similar systems for its Multi-Mission Frigate and Future Second Carrier.