HMS Queen Elizabeth

General Electric (GE) has been selected by the UK’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to develop a rotary frequency converter (RFC) for the Royal Navy’s first Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

A partnership agreement has been entered into by GE with VolkerStevin to design, build, install and commission the RFC system, as well as to provide technical solutions to the DIO for the Royal Navy.

GE will also provide testing and training for its RFC systems, which will enable efficient, safe and reliable power transfer from the national grid to HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The RFC system, which consists of a motor, generator, a static excitation system, a synchronous frequency convertor, and associated equipment, will convert electricity from the UK national grid into 60Hz.

"GE is once again proud to provide solutions which will enable the Royal Navy to perform its duties efficiently."

This will allow use of electricity by the equipment on-board the aircraft carrier, and the vessel’s diesel generators to be switched off whilst at berth in Portsmouth Naval Base, reducing noise, pollution and costs.

Designed to have an operational life of 30 years, the RFC systems will be seamlessly installed using existing facilities at Portsmouth naval base.

GE Marine vice-president Tim Schweikert said: "GE is once again proud to provide solutions which will enable the Royal Navy to perform its duties efficiently.

"As a key supplier of propulsion related systems, we have had a long-standing association with the Royal Navy, and are happy to extend our partnership through this project."

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, are expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

The 280m-long and 74m-wide carriers will have a full-load displacement capacity of 65,000t, an operational range of 10,000nm, and the capacity to carry 40 aircraft with a total runway area of 13,000m².

The navy is expected to begin sea trials for HMS Queen Elizabeth in August 2016, followed by commissioning in May 2017.

Image: HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, based at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.