Five New French Frigates Powered by Rolls-Royce Engines

20 MTU 16V 8000 M91L engines delivering up to 8,000kW


Rolls-Royce recently received its first order for the new 16-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 8,000kW of mechanical power. These are to be installed in the French Navy’s five new FTI-type frigates (medium-sized frigates) from 2023 onwards. The engines are due to ship between the end of 2020 and 2027.

“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,” Knut Müller, Head of Marine & Government Business at MTU, said.

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 7,200-10,000kW. 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 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 32MW, 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 approx. 122m  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.

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