Smooth Sailing Ahead for Rolls-Royce MT30 Marine Engine

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

Rolls-Royce is solidifying its position in the naval power generation market with new, state-of-the-art applications for the company’s MT30 marine engine.  The commissioning of the U.S. Navy’s newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), later in the year and the Royal Navy’ s HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017 shines a spotlight on the relatively new powerplant, as both platforms feature the MT30 as their main power generation system.  The MT30 has a bright future, with Forecast International predicting that nearly 60 units collectively worth $1.345 billion will be produced over the next 10 years.

The MT30 is an aeroderivative engine based on the Trent series of powerplants.  Despite being a relatively new product, the engine’s family has 45 million hours of operation, demonstrating a proven track record of reliability.  Ease of maintenance is vital on ships, and replacement of the MT30 is a fairly quick procedure.  With a high power output of 36 MW, the Rolls-Royce powerplant is making a name for itself among the world’s navies.

The Zumwalt was recently handed over to the U.S. Navy for trials.  The destroyer features an advanced stealth design, and its power primarily comes from two MT30 gas turbines.  The combined package produces 72 MW, and can be used for propulsion or weapons systems.  Across the pond, the MT30 will be put to work at sea in a similar role with the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.  Featuring two MT30s, the Queen Elizabeth is soon to be the pride of the British fleet and will field new Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter aircraft.  Other ships slated to use the Rolls-Royce powerplant include the British Type 26 Global Combat Ship, whose current design includes one MT30, and South Korean Incheon Flight II class frigates, which use one gas turbine engine.

MT30 rivals are few but significant.  The General Electric LM2500 is a strong competitor and has held a solid position in the naval market for decades; however, due to new technologies, one MT30 can do the job of two LM2500s, with the Incheon class a prime example.  In addition, the Zorya-Mashproekt series of turbines have gone through many changes in post-Soviet Ukraine and are poised to be competitive.  Ukraine’s turbines are cheaper and easy to maintain, and have been popular among the Chinese and Indian navies.  Nevertheless, given the relatively new design of the MT30, the interest shown by three navies is impressive.

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Forecast International produces two distinct Power Systems products. The Aviation Gas Turbine Forecast presents the 10-year outlook for aviation turbofan, turboprop and turboshaft engines and more. The Industrial & Marine Turbine Forecast covers the markets for gas and steam turbines, mechanical drive engines, and marine power, among others.Forecast FI Logo

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