GE Marine said its 4.6 MW LM500 marine gas turbines will power ships 13 through 16 of the Republic of Korea Navy’s PKX-B patrol boat program.
The 220-ton PKX-B Chamsuri II class ships will be built by the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction shipyard, and the GE LM500 gas turbine modules will be manufactured, assembled and tested in-country by Hanwha Aerospace.
In December 2019, the ROK Navy launched PKX-B ships five through eight with expectations to be delivered to the fleet by the end of 2020. Each ship can attain speeds over 40 knots powered by two GE LM500 gas turbines and two Caterpillar Marine C32 diesel engines in a combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) configuration. The PKX-B complements the larger, 500-ton PKX-A Gumdoksuri class patrol boats to provide maritime protection and defense in and along the ROK’s seaways. Both the PKX-A and PKX-B ships are powered by GE LM500 marine gas turbines; the first PKX-A Gumdoksuri in the 18-ship program entered service in 2008.
The 4.6 MW (ISO) LM500 is derived from GE’s TF34/CF34 turbofan aircraft engines and has 90% commonality with the CF34 engine that powers the popular CRJ100/200 regional and Challenger 600 series jets, with more than 14 million hours of flight operation. The simple cycle LM500 is a two-shaft gas turbine consisting of a gas generator, a free power turbine and cold end drive capabilities.
“Thanks to our longstanding relationships in the Republic of Korea, we worked directly with key component manufacturers on a complete system design analysis and improvement program,” said GE’s Kris Shepherd, Vice President, General Manager, Marine Operations. “The end result was the PKX-B realized a 45% reduction in size and weight from its PKX-A predecessor by optimizing the package and gas turbine auxiliary systems to include an electric start system.”
GE and Hanwha Aerospace also have the opportunity to provide LM500 gas turbines for the ROK Navy’s PKX-B Batch II, which will commence in the fourth quarter of 2020.
GE maintains an in-country approach from build to delivery to lifetime maintenance support of the GE gas turbines in the ROK Navy fleet. This approach is accomplished through Hanwha Aerospace, a long-time GE marine system partner. To date, Hanwha Aerospace has provided LM500 gas turbine packages for the PKX patrol boats as well as GE LM2500 series gas turbine packages, with the most recent program being for the ROK Navy’s KDX destroyers. The GE-Hanwha partnership keeps GE engaged with key stakeholders while enabling timely customer and product support.
Hanwha Aerospace locally manufactures selected LM500 parts as well as assembles, tests and installs the completed propulsion modules for each PKX-B ship. GE provides technical support and oversight of Hanwha Aerospace’s LM500 master test cell operation, and supports the program during each phase of assembly, building, testing and installation.
GE’s marine gas turbine business is part of GE Aviation and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. GE solutions include aeroderivative gas turbines ranging from 6100 to 70 656 shaft horsepower/4.6 to 52.7 MW.