GE Marine has been contracted to supply an aeroderivative marine gas turbine engine as part of the “combined diesel electric and gas turbine propulsion system” to power the U.S. Navy’s new Constellation class vessels (FFG 62), a series of 20 guided-missile frigates announced in 2017 as a follow-on program to the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships.
The Navy’s plans a series of vessels that can keep up with aircraft carriers and network with other ships to expand the overall tactical picture of its carrier vessel groups. It expects the new frigates to be able engage and destroy ships over the horizon, detect enemy submarines, defend convoy ships, employ active and passive electronic warfare systems, and defend against swarming small boat attacks.
The value of GE Marine’s contract was not announced, though published reports indicate the GE LM2500+G4 carries a list price of $11.4 million. GE indicated it will supply the USN with the same “power dense GE LM2500+G4 gas turbine in a COmbined Diesel eLectric And Gas turbine (CODLAG) propulsion system” installed in Fincantieri’s FREMM frigate series for French and Italian navy frigates.
The GE LM2500 marine gas turbine is a simple-cycle, two-shaft engine derived from GE's CF6-6 aircraft engines, with a gas generator, a power turbine, attached fuel and lube oil pumps, a fuel control and speed governing system, associated inlet and exhaust sections, lube and scavenge systems, plus starter and engine-monitoring controls.
GE also will supply gas-turbine auxiliary skids (electric start, fuel forwarding and water wash systems) and gas-turbine control systems.
The LM2500+G4 gas turbine for the new frigates is certified to a U.S. Navy rating of 30.3 MW (U.S. Navy standard day.) According to GE Marine v.p./general manager Kris Shepherd, “The FFG 62 marks the initial U.S. Navy use of the LM2500+G4 engine. To date, 37 LM2500+G4 gas turbines have been chosen for surface combatants and two for commercial marine ships, as well as more than 1,100 of these engines operating worldwide in industrial settings. The U.S. Navy will benefit from Fincantieri’s low-risk, proven ship design powered by GE’s reliable LM2500+G4 gas turbine.”
Fincantieri Marinette Marine is building the new vessels based on its established FREMM design, which is already in operation for the Italian Navy’s 10 Carlos Bergamini class frigates. Reportedly, the USN chose Fincantieri’s model as the basis for the new FFG(X) series in order to meet the 2020 window for its Small Surface Combatant program development.