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GE Marine has announced a contract to provide Fincantieri Marinette Marine with a GE LM2500+G4 aeroderivative marine gas turbine to power the US Navy’s CONSTELLATION class (FFG 62) frigate. GE will also provide the gas turbine auxiliary skids (electric start, fuel forwarding and water wash systems) and the gas turbine control system.

The new frigates are based on Fincantieri’s proven FREMM design already in operation as the Italian Navy’s CARLOS BERGAMINI class frigates (a 10 ship programme). The US Navy’s frigates will feature the same power dense GE LM2500+G4 gas turbine in a COmbined Diesel eLectric And Gas turbine (CODLAG) propulsion system.

The LM2500+G4 gas turbine is certified to a US Navy rating of 30.3 MW (US Navy standard day). GE will ensure the gas turbine and all associated auxiliary equipment is to specification compliance and fully integrated with the propulsion plant.

The LM2500+G4 will be supplied in GE’s state-of-the-art composite gas turbine module. One of the most important design features of this new module is that it provides a safer environment and improved access for sailors. By using lightweight composites versus the steel enclosure predecessor, wall temperatures are 25oF to 50oF degrees cooler so there is less heat rejected into the engine room. GE also offers water mist fire suppression capability to the composite enclosure. The LM2500+G4 engine will be made in the US at GE’s manufacturing facility in Evendale, Ohio.

LM2500+G4: Proven, Experienced

The LM2500+G4 marine gas turbine was introduced in 2012 with the commissioning of the French Navy’s FREMM multipurpose frigate AQUITAIN. Since then, the LM2500+G4 has been selected for the Italian Navy’s FREMM frigates and Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura (PPA) multipurpose offshore patrol ships, with the first of seven PPA’s to be commissioned in 2021.

The LM2500+G4 fleet of naval and industrial engines has logged more than 4.5 million operating hours. This proven operational record can be traced to GE’s continual technology infusion. The LM2500 family of engines have significant commonality, as all are two spool engines. The LM2500+ and LM2500+G4 differ from the LM2500 in that they have a zero-stage high pressure compressor blisk and each have technical improvements to allow for increased air flow (22 per cent and 33 per cent greater air flow at ISO from the LM2500, respectively) and higher firing temperatures.

These engines serve demanding marine and industrial markets in mechanical and electrical generation applications. The total installed base of more than 3,900 engines in the LM2500 family has accumulated over 110 million operating hours with a demonstrated reliability of >99 per cent.

With a GE gas turbine, navies have worldwide support whether onshore or at sea, and interoperability benefits with other allied ships. GE has delivered gas turbines onboard 633 naval ships worldwide and provides 95 per cent of the commissioned propulsion gas turbines in the US Navy fleet. With GE’s split casing compressor and power turbine design, in-situ maintenance is allowed, often making a gas turbine removal unnecessary, meaning navies save millions of dollars a year and weeks/months of ship unavailability.

Jack Richardson