Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Rolls-Royce signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday to establish a support system in India for the highly regarded Rolls-Royce MT30 marine engines.
The HAL-Rolls-Royce partnership will provide packaging, installation, marketing and services support for the MT30 engine, creating a business case for the Indian Navy to consider using the engine for powering and propelling its warships.
The Indian Navy, one of the world’s major warship builders, has not used the MT30 for even a single warship. Most Indian frigates and destroyers are propelled by Ukrainian Zorya turbines or by American General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines.
The MT30 engine, however, powers the world’s most sophisticated warships. It gives the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, the ability to move at 40 knots, or 75 km per hour. It also powers the US Navy’s all-electric Zumwalt class destroyers and propels the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers: Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The British government has been actively lobbying New Delhi to power the Indian Navy’s second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2), INS Vishal, with the MT30 engine.
Like the two British carriers, for which Rolls-Royce has already tailor-made a propulsion package, INS Vishal will be a 65,000-tonne vessel that embarks 55-60 aircraft.
Rolls-Royce points out that seven major ship types have chosen propulsion solutions based on the MT30 turbine. These include South Korea’s Daegu-class frigates, the Royal Navy’s Type 26 City-class frigates, the Australian navy’s Hunter-class and the Canadian navy’s Surface Combatant programmes.
“The Italian Navy’s future flagship, the Landing Helicopter Dock, will be powered by two MT30s. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s new 30FFM frigates will also be powered by MT30,” states the Rolls-Royce’s website.
Rolls-Royce is famous for its aerospace and land system engines, but the company’s marine engines division is also a major money earner. So far, Rolls-Royce and HAL have collaborated mainly in building the Adour aero engines that power the Jaguar fighter and Hawk advanced jet trainer.
“Rolls-Royce has a shared history of successful collaboration with HAL in defence aerospace, and we are proud to strengthen our valued partnership to work together for the MT30 naval gas turbine,” said Tom Bell, President, Rolls-Royce Defence.