Rolls To Power French Frigates

Rolls-Royce will deliver 20 MTU 16V 8000 M91L engines for the French Navy’s five new medium-size frigates: Frégates de Taille Intermédiaire (FTI).

The company said this is the first order for the new 16-cylinder engines in its Series 8000 range. The 20 engines are due for delivery between the end of 2020 and 2027 to French shipbuilder Naval Group.

The FTI vessels are each to be powered by four 16V 8000 engines forming a combined diesel-and-diesel (CODAD) propulsion system, with two diesel engines connected to each of the ship’s dual propulsion shafts. Each engine will deliver up to 8000 kW for a total propulsion power output of 32 MW, allowing the frigates to reach speeds of 27 knots. The vessels will have a range of up to 5 000 nautical miles.

MTU Series 8000 engines cover a power range from 7200 to 10000 kW, with 16- and 20-cylinder engine types, which all meet IMO Tier 2 and EPA Tier 2I emissions limits.

“We are proud to have succeeded in convincing Naval Group and the French Navy of the merits of our new engine, and to have the opportunity of powering these leading-edge vessels with their all-new design,” said Knut Müller, head of Marine & Government Business at MTU.

The frigates have an all-new design with a hull approximately 122 m long and a total displacement of 4250 metric tons. They have a modular design and will be capable of performing a wide variety of roles, including intercepting threats posed by other surface vessels, submarines and aircraft. Onboard digital systems are protected against all forms of cyberattack. The FTI vessels have also been designed for export markets and shipbuilder Naval Group is marketing the export version under the name Belh@rra, whose unusual spelling references the project’s widespread use of digital technology.

The five new frigates are due to enter service by 2030 and will join the eight Aquitaine-class FREMM frigates to form the backbone of the French Navy. The French FREMM frigates also feature MTU engines, with each vessel equipped with four 16V 4000 M63L engines supplying onboard electrical power and teamed with a gas turbine to form the propulsion system.

All models in the MTU Series 8000 have been awarded Naval Vessel Rules (NVR) certificate by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Rolls-Royce said they are among the first modern, ABS-certified engines in their power class which was one of the key factors in winning the FTI project. Another reason for the choice was the engine’s extremely low structure-borne noise levels, as verified by MTU using a trial engine.

MTU and Naval Group have a close partnership since more than 20 years; around 30 submarines and surface vessels built by Naval Group are equipped with MTU engines. One current project is for four Gowind corvettes for the Egyptian Navy, each powered by two 20-cylinder Series 8000 engines. The first of these vessels went into service in September 2017.

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