Rolls-Royce to deliver propulsion systems for UK’s Type 31 frigates

Rolls-Royce has sealed a major contract to supply complete MTU propulsion systems for five new Type 31 general-purpose frigates to be built for the Royal UK Navy.

In total, the order comprises of 40 engines and generator sets to be used for main propulsion and on-board power generation, the MTU Callosum propulsion control and monitoring system, and integrated logistics support (ILS).

Each new frigate will be powered by four MTU 20V 8000 M71 engines, each delivering over 8,000 kW. On-board power will be provided on each vessel by four MTU generator sets based on 16V 2000 M41B units, each delivering in excess of 900 kW.

In September 2021, Rolls-Royce will deliver the first shipset comprising four main propulsion engines and four generator sets to prime contractor Babcock International Group. ILS for propulsion and onboard power systems is expected to ensure efficient and cost-effective maintenance throughout their entire service life. It is anticipated that the MTU Callosum propulsion control and monitoring system will be officially added to the supply contract very shortly, according to the company.

“We’re delighted to welcome Rolls-Royce with its MTU solutions as a supplier to our Type 31 Programme. Its engines and on-board generator sets are already proving their mettle in numerous comparable vessels worldwide,” Sean Donaldson, Managing Director for Energy & Marine at Babcock International, said.

“We’re very proud of the fact that Babcock International Group has opted for MTU propulsion and on-board power solutions on this highly significant project. MTU products now feature in almost all current and future projects of the Royal Navy,” Knut Müller, Vice President Marine & Defense at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems, commented.

The Royal Navy relies on Rolls-Royce propulsion solutions across its surface and submarine fleets. MTU Series 2000, 4000 and 8000 units will feature in future in most Royal Navy warships – in destroyers (Type 45), all frigate classes (Type 23, 26, 31) and submarines (Astute class).

Type 31 frigates

In September 2019, the Royal Navy picked Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 proposal as the preferred design for its Type 31 frigates. The fleet comprising five ships will be built at an average production cost of £250 million per ship.

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Construction of the vessels will take place at Babcock’s Rosyth, Scotland-based yard. The first unit is planned to be launched in 2023.

The design was developed by Team 31, led by Babcock International as prime for the Type 31 program, comprising Thales UK, BMT and OMT. It is based on Odense Maritime Technology’s (OMT) ‘Iver Huitfeldt class’ hull form, which is currently in service with the Royal Danish Navy.