Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate makes another stride

Rolls Royce announced January 1 that the MT30 gas turbine they built for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship completed the factory acceptance test.

Rolls-Royce built the turbine under a contract to supply MT30 gas turbines for the first three Type 26 Global Combat Ships.

The company has also signed Design Development Agreements (DDAs) with BAE Systems for steering gear, stabilisers, and mission bay handling equipment. There is also a DDA in place for diesel generator sets to power the ship’s electric drive system.

Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “I am very pleased to welcome the delivery of the first Type 26 Global Combat Ship MT30 Gas Turbine engine, which will be a key long lead item for the programme. The Type 26 will be a multi-mission warship with capability to meet the future demands of the maritime environment, including complex combat operations, counter piracy, humanitarian and disaster relief work.”

Geoff Searle, BAE Systems, Programme Director Type 26 Global Combat Ship, said: “Today is a significant milestone on our journey to deliver Type 26 to the Royal Navy and it really shows the momentum that there is behind this programme.”

The factory acceptance test, which has to be completed before the gas turbine can be delivered, was carried out at the Rolls-Royce Test Facility in Bristol. The engine was put through a week of performance tests, witnessed by representatives from BAE Power Systems.

MT30 marine gas turbine, Image: Rolls Royce
MT30 marine gas turbine, Image: Rolls Royce

The MT30 is derived from Rolls-Royce Trent aero engine technology and builds on over 45 million hours of operating experience and ultra-high reliability. It is initially built as separate modules on the same build line as the Rolls-Royce Trent aerospace engines in Derby. It is then assembled at the company’s Bristol facility.

Don Roussinos, Rolls-Royce, President – Naval, said: “Producing 36 to 40 megawatts the MT30 gas turbine is the world’s most powerful in-service marine gas turbine with the highest power density and will deliver a high power output in a compact space – an essential factor for naval propulsion.”

Rolls-Royce MT30s are also being installed in the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales. They are also in service with the US Navy and their new Zumwalt-class destroyers and have been selected for the Republic of Korea Navy’s latest Frigate programme.

The UK Ministry of Defence Type 26 programme is set to replace the thirteen older Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy. Initially named “Future Surface Combatant”, the programme started in 1998. In March 2010 BAE Systems was awarded a four-year contract to develop the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. The same company is now undertaking the Demonstration Phase with the first Type 26 scheduled to be delivered in 2022.