Under the US Navy’s LCS programme, GE Marine is contracted to deliver a total of 20 LM2500 gas turbines to power up to ten LCS ships over a five-year period.
The contract follows a previously awarded $3.5bn contract to Austal by the US Navy to build and deliver an additional ten LCSs to join USS Independence (LCS 2), which was commissioned in January 2010.
The LM2500 has been designed to maximise shipboard maintainability and parts replacement downtime, including split compressor casing, in-place blade and vane replacement, in-place hot section maintenance and accessible external fuel nozzles.
Based on GE’s CF6-6 aircraft engines, the LM2500 high-performance unit features a gas generator, a power turbine, attached fuel and lube oil pumps, a fuel control and speed governing system, as well as controls and devices for starting and monitoring engine operations.
Powered by two LM2500s arranged in a combined diesel or gas turbine configuration with two diesel engines, the 127m-long aluminum trimaran ships can operate for an extended period either with a battle group or through a forward-basing arrangement.
Capable of conducting underway replenishment and deployed independently to overseas littoral regions, the LCS agile surface combatants feature a helicopter deck and hangar, capable for launch and recovery operations of the MH-60R/S helicopter and a tactical unmanned air vehicle.
Currently, Austal is conducting USS Coronado (LCS 4) sea trials, scheduled to complete later this spring, as well as constructing two additional LCSs at its Mobile shipyard.
Work under the contract will be performed at GE’s Evendale facility in Ohio, US.
Image: USS Coronado (LCS 4) at the Austal USA assembly bay. Photo: courtesy of US Navy, by Austal USA/Released.