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Aiken plant expands to make generators for Rolls-Royce ship engines

Ross Norton //March 22, 2023//

Aiken plant expands to make generators for Rolls-Royce ship engines

Ross Norton //March 22, 2023//

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A South Carolina city known for its equestrian traditions will produce a different kind of horsepower for the U.S. Navy after Rolls-Royce was chosen to supply generators for the ship USS Congress.

The Power Systems division of Rolls-Royce has been selected to supply four of its mtu naval generator sets for the USS Congress, the second ship in the U.S. Navy’s Constellation Class Guided-Missile Frigate program, according to a news release from Rolls-Royce.

The company said it has made “significant investment” at its production facilities in Aiken and Mankato, Minn., to support the program and manufacture the generator sets in the United States.

Rolls-Royce is currently supplying mtu generator sets for the lead ship in the Constellation Class program, the USS Constellation (FFG 62), relying on its established team in Friedrichshafen, Germany, to fulfil the project. For the second ship, the FFG-63, the company has transferred advanced technology and detailed manufacturing processes to the United States, investing in new facility improvements and creating up to 20 new jobs to enhance its Aiken and Mankato plants.

This investment will not only accommodate the specific needs of the FFG program but also support future potential U.S. naval business, the company said in the release. Investments made at the facilities are new assembly tooling and material handling equipment, upgraded hoist systems, adapted test cells and building expansion, in addition to the new jobs.

“We’re not only proud to continue our support of our partners in the U.S. Navy but are also thrilled to bring the manufacturing of our mtu naval gensets to the U.S.,” Adam Wood, managing director, Rolls-Royce Solutions America, said in the release. “Working with our colleagues in Germany for a seamless technology transfer to our Aiken and Mankato facilities has strengthened our ability to meet the high expectations of this project and better position us to compete for future government programs.”

The USS Congress is a multi-mission warship designed for operation in littoral and blue water environments to conduct air, anti-submarine, surface and electronic warfare, in addition to information operations, the news release said. The four generator sets, each rated at 3000 electric kilowatts, will provide a total power output of 12 megawatts for propulsion and on-board power supply.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine of Marinette, Wisc., was awarded the build contract for the project. The completed vessel will be powered by a combined diesel-electric and gas turbine, allowing for energy-efficient diesel power generation for propulsion at normal cruising speeds with extended range, while enhancing anti-submarine capability in its extremely quiet diesel-electric configuration, the release said. When completed, the ship will be nearly 500 feet in length, accommodate up to 200 crew and be capable of speeds in excess of 26 knots, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 16 knots.