Rolls-Royce has received its first order for the new sixteen-cylinder engines in its successful Series 8000 range: French shipbuilder Naval Group has ordered a total of 20 MTU 16V 8000 M91L engines, each delivering up to 8,000 kW of mechanical power. These are to be installed in the French Navy’s five new FTI-type frigates (Frégates de Taille Intermédiaire – medium-sized frigates) from 2023 onwards. The engines are due to ship between the end of 2020 and 2027.
Knut Müller, Head of Marine & Government Business at MTU, said: “We are proud to have succeeded in convincing Naval Group and the French Navy of the merits of our new engine, and to have the opportunity of powering these leading-edge vessels with their all-new design.”
With the 16V 8000 engine, MTU has expanded its portfolio of well-proven marine engines in the very high power class. The Series 8000 now covers the power range from 7,200 to 10,000 kW. Like its 20-cylinder counterpart, the 16-cylinder engine excels with low overall operating costs, high power density and low environmental impact while meeting both IMO Tier II and EPA Tier II emissions limits, with the ability to meet other standards as required.
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has awarded its Naval Vessel Rules (NVR) certificate to all models in the Series 8000 line-up, putting them among the first modern, ABS-certified engines in their power class. Another key factor in winning the FTI project was the engine’s extremely low structure-borne noise levels, as verified by MTU using a trial engine.
The FTI vessels are each to be powered by four 16V 8000 engines forming a combined diesel-and-diesel (CODAD) propulsion system, with two diesel engines connected to each of the ship’s dual prop shafts. The propulsion system will produce a total power output of 32 MW, powering the frigates up to speeds of 27 knots. The vessels will have a range of up to 5,000 nautical miles.
With their all-new design, these vessels will be approximately 122 meters long and have a displacement of 4,250 metric tons. Their modular design will ensure they are able to assume a wide variety of roles, including intercepting threats posed by other surface vessels, submarines and aircraft. The on-board digital systems are protected against all forms of cyberattack. Right from the outset, the FTI vessels have also been designed for export markets. Naval Group is marketing the export version under the name Belh@rra, whose unusual spelling references the project’s widespread use of digital technology.
The five new frigates are due to enter service by 2030, joining the eight slightly larger Aquitaine-class FREMM frigates to form the backbone of the French Navy. The French FREMM frigates also feature MTU engines, each vessel is equipped with four 16V 4000 M63L engines supplying on-board electrical power and teamed with a gas turbine to form the propulsion system.
MTU and Naval Group (known as DCNS until 2017) have enjoyed a close partnership for over 20 years now, with a total of around 30 submarines and surface vessels built by Naval Group plying the world’s seas with MTU engines. One current project is for four ‘Gowind’ corvettes for the Egyptian Navy, each powered by two 20-cylinder Series 8000 engines. The first of these vessels went into service in September 2017.