September 11, 2013
BAE Systems has awarded design and development contracts for four more key systems on the U.K.’s future Type 26 warships, underscoring the vessel’s emphasis on stealth.
Rolls-Royce will provide the gas turbine element of the Type 26’s Codeleg (combined diesel-electric and gas) propulsion system, in the form of a self-contained module housing a 36-40 MW MT30 engine. MTU (jointly owned by Rolls-Royce and Daimler-Benz) is contributing the diesel element, comprising four V-20 high-speed diesels and generators in an insulated module, providing a total of 12 megawatts for cruising power and ship systems. David Brown Gear Systems will use technology from the Astute-class submarine in the reduction gearbox that connects the two propeller shafts to the MT30.
The power system allows the gas turbine and gearbox to be clutched out and shut down at low speeds. The diesel-electric module has no mechanical connection to the ship and is heavily insulated and mounted on tuned isolators.
A fourth contract went to the U.K. division of Rohde & Schwartz for the ship’s integrated communications system.
BAE says that about 70 design and development contracts on the new ship class remain to be awarded, with about half to be assigned this year and the remainder in 2014. The British defense ministry, meanwhile, will select weapons and some sensors; a competition for the 5-in/127 mm main gun is under way, pitting BAE Systems against Oto Melara. The gun is expected to fire extended-range and guided rounds.
The U.K. government also announced a production contract this week for the Type 26’s anti-air weapon, the MBDA Sea Ceptor missile, which together with the BAE Artisan radar is being retrofitted to the ships that Type 26 will replace, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The new warship will carry 48 Sea Ceptor rounds in two 24-missile silos located fore and aft, and also will have space for up to 24 anti-ship or land-attack missiles.
Other future contracts include the handling system for the Type 26’s modular mission bay, located forward of the helicopter hangar at main-deck level. The system will be designed to move payloads such as rigid hull inflatable boats and unmanned surface and underwater vehicles around the bay, and launch and recover them through side doors.
The Main Gate decision to build 13 Type 26s in two subtypes — anti-submarine and general-purpose — is expected in time to allow construction to start in 2016, with the ships entering service after 2020.