Naval Breakthrough: Russia Delivers First Serially-Produced Diesel-Gas Turbine Unit

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Naval Breakthrough: Russia Delivers First Serially-Produced Diesel-Gas Turbine Unit

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In November 2020, Russia’s United Engine Corporation of Rostec State Corporation shipped the first serial diesel-gas turbine unit М55Р with М90ФР engines to PJSC Shipyard Severnaya Verf.

This was announced at a press conference by Viktor Polyakov, Deputy General Director – Managing Director of the UEC enterprise.

The brand-new equipment is to be used on the frigate of project 22350 “Admiral Golovko” which is currently under construction.

The second unit is planned to be shipped in December. The potential of the new segment for ship power plants is reportedly quite high: in the near future, delivery of several sets of M55R units, MA3 units for the in-development corvettes of project 20386. Such engines are also expected for the Zubr and Murena air-cushion landing ships.

Plus, there are possible export orders and civilian use of the M90FR engines and its modifications.

Project 22350 frigates became the first large surface combatants designed and built in Russia in the post-Soviet period.

With a standard displacement of 4550 tons and a length of 135 meters, the ships carry powerful missile, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weapons.

The maximum speed is up to 29 knots. Its endurance is approximately 30 days.

Achievement of this high performance became possible thanks to the use of the M55R diesel-gas turbine unit, which includes an M90FR afterburner gas turbine engine, a 10D49 cruise diesel engine, a PO55 gearbox and a transmission. Two units are installed on the ship, driving fixed-pitch propellers.

The lead ship of the project “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov” was laid down on February 1, 2006, launched at the end of October 2010, and its tests were completed only in mid-2018.

The second ship of the project the “Admiral of the Fleet Kasatonov” was laid down at the end of November 2009 and entered service in July 2020. The third and fourth ships, laid down in 2012 and 2013, are under construction.

Initially, gas turbines and gearboxes for frigates were supplied by the Ukrainian enterprise Zorya-Mashproekt, while the main contractor for the manufacture of M55R units, their delivery, installation on the ship and commissioning was the Russian-Ukrainian joint venture CJSC Turborus.

However, against the background of the complication of the foreign policy situation, a ban was imposed on the military-technical cooperation of Ukrainian enterprises with Russia, which also extended to the supply of gas turbines and gearboxes for frigates of Project 22350.

Only the first two ships of the project received Imported gas turbine engines. Against this background, an import substitution project was urgently launched, within the framework of which the UEC JSC became the main contractor and supplier of diesel-gas turbine units М55Р.

The main milestones of the project were the development of serial production of M90FR engines at the UEC enterprise, the development of the production of PO55 gearboxes in St. Petersburg at the facilities of the Zvezda enterprise, the construction and commissioning of an assembly and test complex for ship units at the UEC enterprise.

The delivery of the first M55P unit, which took place in November, means that the import substitution project has been successfully implemented.

“Rostec is consistently implementing programs for the development of modern engines of all types. The creation of offshore gas turbine power plants and units is a high-tech high-tech process. Only a few manufacturers in the world have such competencies. We are ready to meet the needs of Russian shipbuilders in new gas turbine units. The second unit of this series is planned to be delivered to December 2020 “, – said Vladimir Artyakov, First Deputy General Director of Rostec State Corporation.

“Since 2014, we have carried out development work, built a special test bench. Today I state that we are serially producing marine gas turbine engines and units based on them,” Viktor Polyakov, Deputy General Director – Managing Director of the UEC enterprise, described the event. Speaking in general about a new competence for the United Engine Corporation, V. Polyakov emphasized that “today the United Engine Corporation is capable of developing, producing, testing, installing on ships and supporting in operation all gas turbine units”, meaning not only М55Р, but and other products are also in development.

The task set for the UEC enterprise in terms of the M90FR engines was reduced to the development of serial production, repair and maintenance in operation of a previously developed engine, for which the enterprise had a set of documentation.

According to Roman Khramin, general designer of the UEC enterprise, no significant additional work was carried out to improve the characteristics of the engine: the flow path was made without changes. However, due to the use of modern technological processes, the use of high-precision equipment in the production of parts, it was possible to increase the engine efficiency by about 2-2.5%.

“This is more precise manufacturing, smaller radial clearances along the flow path, due to which increased efficiency is achieved,” Roman Khramin specified.

Also, Ivan Belyaev, Deputy Managing Director for Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine Engines Programs at the UEC enterprise, noted that during the development of the engine, a number of design changes were made to improve reliability.

According to the top managers of the UEC enterprise, the development of the engine production in Russia made it possible to keep the cost of products at a competitive level.

In comparison with the cost of imported engines, domestic products benefit, not least because of the impact of exchange rate differences.

“Taking into account the current rate, our units gain in price. But I will transfer the issue to another plane. You yourself saw the enterprise, you saw new modern technologies. This is a completely different production culture, and therefore high quality,” Polyakov noted.

UEC also sees the possibility of creating a new 25 MW engine based on the M90FR.

“Regarding the further development on the basis of this engine of the GTE family of greater power, we know how to do this, and we can bring this machine from 20 to 25 MW. We have such proposals, we have come out with them to interested organizations and government agencies. time, these proposals are being considered,” the corporation stressed.

At the end of the press conference, Viktor Polyakov answered the questions of the AviaPort correspondent regarding the development of the corporation’s new competence.

– How did you master the production of these new products?

– The competencies we received allowed us to quickly master the production of offshore installations. The production of gas turbine engines is a familiar thing for us. The challenge was to configure the entire ship assembly. But the competence of our people, with the involvement of specialized institutions, allowed us to quickly complete the project.

He also said that much depends on good cooperation between the various Russian companies that are jointly working on the ships and engines, specifically.

He also said that it is necessary for all of this to be developed in Russia, so as it does not depend on outside help.

“We are destined to be a maritime power, Russia cannot exist without a fleet,” he concluded.

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