Engines for navy's next workhorse roar into life during successful tests

Defence correspondent

Thursday, 4th February 2016, 6:00 am
(L-r) Tomas Leahy from Rolls-Royce, Commodore Paul Methven, defence procurement minister Philip Dunne MP and Geoff Searle of BAE Systems

Manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce has successfully completed the first batch of trials on the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

It comes just days after the Ministry of Defence revealed it would overhaul the engines of the nation’s £6bn fleet of Type 45 destroyers, which keep breaking down.

Rolls-Royce has signed a contract to supply the MT30 gas turbines for the first three of the navy’s new workhorses.

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Commodore Paul Methven, who is in charge of the Type 26 programme, said: ‘This is a key milestone for the Type 26 project.

‘It is a direct result of the substantial investment announced in February last year and, following the unequivocal commitment to Type 26 declared in the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review, shows that this project is beginning to move from paper to real equipment.

‘Getting to this stage is testament to the skills and hard work of all the people involved and I look forward to more milestones being delivered through 2016.’

The week-long tests, held at Rolls-Royce’s factory in Bristol, were welcomed by defence procurement minister Philip Dunne.

Don Roussinos, Rolls-Royce president – naval, added this was a significant achievement in the project.

‘We’re proud that our MT30 will be powering the Type 26 and continuing a long Rolls-Royce tradition of providing gas turbines to the navy,’ he said.

‘We look forward to working with BAE Systems and the Royal Navy on this exciting project.’

Once installed the engines will be the world’s most powerful, in-service, marine gas turbines, each producing 36 to 40 megawatts of power – which could run up 6,500 homes.

The turbines will also feature in the UK’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – both of which will be based in Portsmouth.

The news comes as the government looks to refit the navy’s fleet of six destroyers after mounting concern over the ships’ engine reliability.

Speaking to The News last week, the navy’s former head, Admiral Lord Alan West branded the issue as a ‘systemic problem’.

The Type 26 will replace the Type 23 frigates as the navy’s workhorse of the fleet.

Each will have 185 sailors.

The first ship is due to enter service in the early 2020s.