The U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32), powered by two GE LM2500 gas turbines that include GE’s lightweight composite gas turbine enclosure. This marks the first commissioned installation of GE Marine’s new composite module. The gas turbines and the modules are both manufactured in the United States.
“This commissioning is more than just the launch of the USS Santa Barbara, but it also demonstrates the next wave of innovation for GE. Not only does this composite enclosure afford ship designers a significant reduction in weight, but it was also designed with the sailor in mind by providing greater access, reduced temperatures, and improved sound attenuation,” said Kris Shepherd, Vice President and General Manager of GE Marine, who attended the commissioning ceremony this past weekend in Port Hueneme, CA.
GE’s state-of-the-art composite gas turbine enclosure was fully certified in 2019 by the United States Navy after receiving MIL-S-901D Grade A shock qualification. It provides a safer engine room environment and improved access for sailors, including:
- Reduced engine room noise: 60% (4dBA) less noise than steel enclosures
- Cooler engine room temperatures: Enclosure wall temperatures are 25oF to 50oF degrees cooler, approximately 50% less heat is rejected into the engine room.
- Superior operational and life cycle benefits: The composite carbon fiber walls are constructed from a single corrosion resistant piece.
- Significant weight reduction: The walls and roof assembly are 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs) lighter, a 50% weight reduction, allowing ship designers more flexibility for increased payload, fuel, or systems.
- Better access to the engine: Improved crew access to inlet plenum and lightweight main door for easy handling.
- Ease of engine removal/reinstallation: The gas turbines can be removed and reinstalled through the intake path.
Key differentiators, like the lightweight composite gas turbine enclosure, make GE gas turbines the preferred engine choice for navies worldwide – all backed by 99% reliability and a global maintenance network.
GE engines have been installed aboard over 600 naval ships serving around the world and provide 95% of the commissioned propulsion gas turbines in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard surface combatant fleet. The lightweight composite module will be installed in these new warships: US Navy’s FFG-62 Constellation class Frigates and DDG-51 Flight 3 Destroyers, and the Finnish Navy’s Pohjanmaa-class Corvettes.