Gas Turbine Propulsion System & Ongoing TNF Surface Ship Programs

The propulsion system of a warship consumes 16% to 22% of the total ship volume and 10% to 15% of the total ship cost. Choosing the right propulsion system is a crucial decision and it must be the right decision to ensure a warship will still perform as its systems and capability are upgraded throughout its life. As one of the most widely-used power generating technologies today, gas turbines have been propelling warships for almost 75 years. As advances in technology and engineering continue, power density remains a principal design objective and new designs focus on being lower in weight and volume, higher in availability, with lower maintenance requirements and lower noise levels.

Date: Issue 113 - April 2022

The history of the application of gas turbines in the generation of electricity dates back to 1938 however the use of gas turbines (lightweight aeroderivative gas turbines) for propelling warships dates back to July 1947, when the Royal Navy (RN) retrofitted its MGB 2009, a diesel-powered fast patrol boat, with a 2,500hp Metropolitan-Vickers (Metrovick) G.1 Gatric gas turbine. In the early 1950s gas turbine propulsion was used first in small craft and high-speed patrol boats (such as hydrofoils and hovercraft) and later during the 1960s and 1970s it spread to frigates and destroyers and replaced steam turbines as the propulsion of choice.

Converting the Propulsion System from Steam to Gas Turbine