GE Delivers First LM2500 Lightweight Composite Gas Turbine Module for Future USS Santa Barbara

GE Marine announced it has delivered its first new lightweight LM2500 composite gas turbine module to Austal USA for the U.S. Navy Independence variant littoral combat ship future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32).

This new LM2500 gas turbine module, which was fully certified by the Navy in 2019 after receiving MIL-S-901D shock qualification, provides a 5,500-pound weight savings (50% wall weight reduction) and 60% quieter enclosure.

The Module Modernization Program (MMP) was a four-year collaborative effort with the U.S. Navy, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) of Bath, Maine, and GE. Key GE strategic partners in this effort included: RL Industries, Fairfield, Ohio, for help in developing and qualifying the carbon fiber enclosure; and DRS Power Technology, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, a long-time GE Marine packaging partner, who helped lead the way in satisfying all first article inspection quality #GErequirements and package assembly.

GE LM2500 MMP Lightweight Composite Gas Turbine Module
GE Marine’s LM2500 lightweight composite marine gas turbine module developed under Module Modernization Program (MMP). GE Photo.

Changes to the LM2500 system include the composite module, components, and fewer shock mounts for weight reduction, all while leveraging the experience and loadings from previous LM2500 shock tests with running units. Components such as sensors, transducers, ice and flame detectors and the heater also were updated.

“One of the most important design features of this new module is that it provides a safer environment and improved access for sailors,” said Kris Shepherd, Vice President and General Manager, GE Marine. “By using lightweight composites versus the steel enclosure predecessor, wall temperatures are 25oF to 50oF degrees cooler so there is less heat rejected into the engine room.”

GE is supplying 38 LM2500 gas turbines to Austal USA for LCS Independence variants up to LCS 38. Like all the Austal USA-built LCS, the future USS Santa Barbara will be powered by two GE LM2500 gas turbines arranged in a combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) configuration with two diesel engines.

Independence-Class LCS
Rendering of a U.S. Navy Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS). (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)

The LM2500 marine gas turbines are built at GE’s manufacturing facility in Evendale, Ohio. With a GE gas turbine, the U.S. Navy has worldwide support whether onshore or at sea, and interoperability benefits with other U.S. Navy and allied vessels.

General Electric LM2500 Marine Gas Turbine
General Electric LM2500 marine gas turbine. GE Photo.

GE has delivered gas turbines onboard 646 naval ships serving 35 navies worldwide and provides 97% of the commissioned propulsion gas turbines in the U.S. Navy fleet. With GE’s split casing compressor and power turbine design, in-situ maintenance is allowed making a gas turbine removal unnecessary; navies save millions of dollars a year and weeks/months of ship unavailability.

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