General Electric Marine (GEM) has signed an agreement with a Turkish shipbuilder, TAIS OG-STM Partnership, to supply the LM2500 marine gas turbine engine in a new lightweight enclosure for Istif-class frigates – numbers 6, 7 and 8 as part of Turkey’s MILGEM project.

The lightweight enclosure has already debuted in April, on the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship, Santa Barbara.

The Turkish navy’s conversion from the steel engine enclosure comes from a desire to benefit from some of the features of GEM’s one-piece composite enclosure. It replaces its steel predecessor by providing a safer engine room environment, improved access for sailors, a significant weight reduction, 60% (4dBA) less noise and approximately 50% less heat is rejected into the engine room.

Turkey’s navy already uses 31 LM2500 engines to power 18 vessels between the 4 Barbaros units (procured from 1997), 8 Gabya units (1998-03) and Istif-class frigates as well as its ADA-class corvettes. The engine has also been integrated into a total of 638 navy vessels globally.

Turkey’s MILGEM naval modernisation

Under the MILGEM project, Turkey’s private shipyards – in Andolu, Sedef and Sefine – will build a frigate class surface combatant for the first time over the course of 36 months. GEM’s supply of LM2500 engines will help to expedite this timeline.

GlobalData tells us that Turkey is currently developing a new class of destroyer designated the TF-2000. The data intelligence company estimates that $3.7bn will be allocated to the project over 2023–33. For this project, the navy will induct four vessels, with the primary role of defending against airborne attacks. The vessels are the final phase of the MILGEM modernisation project within the Turkish navy that will also provide new frigates and new corvettes.

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General Electric marine’s lightweight engine room enclosure. Credit: General Electric marine.

General Electric marine’s lightweight engine room enclosure. Credit: General Electric marine.

The new Istif-class frigates will be 10 metres longer than previous models to account for the increased capabilities in weapon systems. GlobalData intelligence points out that this has become a common thread across modernising navies looking to procure the most advanced equipment and weapon systems for optimal performance at the cost of producing larger, more time-consuming vessels.

One LM2500 engine will provide 22 megawatts of propulsion power for each new MILGEM frigate.

“We want GEM’s strong relationships in Turkey, along with the new engine selection on the Istif-class MILGEM, to demonstrate our commitment to supporting Turkey’s naval programme, including domestic sustainment of naval capabilities,” Mark Musheno, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for GEM, stated.