GE contracted for Royal Navy destroyer power improvement project work

BAE Systems has recently contracted GE’s Marine Solutions to deliver a number of marine electrical solutions to support the upgrade of Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers as part of the UK defense ministry’s Power Improvement Project (PIP).

Illustration: Royal Navy file photo of Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond

The PIP will see BAE Systems and its partners replace the existing two diesel generators with larger units, fitting an additional larger diesel generator and modifying the high-voltage system on each ship.

This undertaking will provide additional power generation to the ships and enhance the fleet’s power system resilience.

Specifically, GE’s Marine Solutions is tasked with updating the electrical power management system on each destroyer to integrate the new generator sets and their power requirement by supplying hardware, including a new high-voltage switchboard, diesel generator neutral earth resistor, battery charger, automatic voltage regulator cubicle and additional automation outstations.

The company further said it was responsible for power system modelling, updating the power and propulsion automation system, the integration and commissioning of the high-voltage electrical system, and the provision of integrated logistic support data.

“Extreme environmental and operational challenges have made naval vessels drivers of advanced maritime technology. Solutions need to be both highly efficient, resilient and survivable. Meeting these demands goes to the heart of the Royal Navy Type 45 Power Improvement Project,” said Laurence Ellis, Head of Type 45 Power Improvement.

“Navies are seeing growing power demands to both achieve propulsion speeds and power energy-intense defence systems onboard vessels. At GE, we look at the ship’s architecture as a complete power network, managing demand and supply in a more efficient and reliable way. We are proud to be chosen by the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to provide naval services to one of the United Kingdom’s most advanced air defence warships,” said Andy McKeran, general manager, GE’s Marine Solutions.

PIP is expected to resolve the problems caused by gas turbines which, once they stopped providing enough power to the engines, caused the ship’s generators to fallout leaving the ships drifting in the waters with no power at all. The problems were particularly prominent in warmer waters as intercooler units on the gas turbines underwent design changes which, subsequently, were not fully tested. The systems worked well in North Sea waters but did not perform well in warmer waters of the Persian Gulf.

Under the PIP contract, BAE Systems, in collaboration with BMT Defence services and Cammell Laird, will carry out physical conversion work at Cammell Laird’s ship yard in Birkenhead, Merseyside.