As Rolls-Royce Australia looks to develop a local Australian industry, BAE Systems has selected its parent company to supply low-noise propellers and mission bay handling technology for the UK Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS), a design that has been proposed as an option for Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
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A unique feature of the Type 26 GCS design is its mission bay. Rolls-Royce president of naval Don Roussinos said its mission bay handling system, which features launch and recovery systems, will enable efficient movement within the mission bay of a wide variety of payloads including cargo, munitions, assorted crafts and containerised mission modules.
"The new Type 26 frigates will be globally deployable, multi-mission warships capable of undertaking a wide range of roles. We’re proud to be supplying our pioneering mission bay handling system, which will ensure flexibility and adaptability throughout the life of the ships, whatever their future mission," Roussinos said.
BAE Systems Type 26 program director Nadia Savage said the selection of Rolls-Royce will give the new UK Navy vessels the best available capability.
"The Type 26 Global Combat Ship is a next generation anti-submarine platform that will provide great flexibility and agility for the Royal Navy. With Rolls-Royce contracted to supply the low-noise propellers and mission bay technologies, these vessels will have the highest standards of capability and adaptability that the Royal Navy needs to continue to protect UK national interests," Savage said.
"Manufacture of Glasgow, the first of the three contracted City Class Type 26s for the Royal Navy, is progressing well in Glasgow, and these contracts are further evidence of the great momentum that is driving this project forward."
Commenting on the company’s potential to be involved in the future SEA 5000 project, Rob Madders, Rolls-Royce general manager, naval marine Australia and New Zealand, said its involvement looks promising if BAE Systems is selected as the successful SEA 5000 designer.
"The selection of our mission bay handling technology for the Type 26 means the ship will be able to adapt easily for any mission, giving the Navy the ultimate flexibility over many decades of operation," said Madders.
"Should the Global Combat Ship be selected by Australia, then I’m confident our technology would play a big part in future-proofing the fleet so it can meet the ever-changing demands of a modern navy."
Rolls-Royce is working alongside BAE Systems Australia in its proposal for a variant of the Type 26, Global Combat Ship – Australia (GCS-A), to be selected for the Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 5000 program. In December 2017, the company committed to the BAE Systems Power and Propulsion Team, an initiative that will enable Rolls-Royce and other original equipment manufacturers to transfer technology and IP to Australian industry through the SEA 5000 program.
"We’re offering a wide range of technology to the GCS-A, including the majority of the propulsion system and our innovative mission bay handling system. The SEA 5000 project will transform Australia’s naval capability, and we have no doubt that our proven technology can play a big part in determining that future capability," said Madders.
"We’re currently in advanced discussions with several Australian companies to develop a local industrial supply chain that can be mobilised quickly should the GCS-A be selected. We have identified a shortlist of Australian companies for the local manufacture of Rolls-Royce products, and plan to announce our partners within weeks.
"These companies will collectively offer a range of capabilities that includes ship-to-ship refuelling at sea equipment, the mission bay handling system, propellers, steering gear and stabilisers and the complex steel enclosure which houses the MT30 gas turbine and its support auxiliaries. We are seeing an unprecedented demand for the MT30 gas turbine from leading naval forces around the world and believe the Australian industry will be well placed to take advantage of this allied nation commonality, by providing gas turbine packaging and integration to allied navies as part of our global supply chain. We are also investigating providing other items of systems equipment into SEA 5000, which will have a high Australian manufacturing content."
Rolls-Royce is also delivering the majority of the hybrid propulsion system for the UK’s Type 26 GCS. Power will come from a single MT30 gas turbine, providing direct drive through a gear box, and four MTU Series 4000 diesel generator sets from Rolls-Royce Power Systems. The company will also supply two fixed bolted propellers to each ship, designed to meet extremely challenging underwater-radiated noise requirements, suited to the ships’ key role of anti-submarine warfare.