Rolls-Royce has reached agreement with Fincantieri Marinette Marine to design and manufacture up to 40 fixed-pitch propellers for the U.S. Navy’s Constellation class frigates.

The Constellation class are based on the FREMM class of ships.

Fincantieri was awarded the shipbuilding contract from the U.S. Department of Defense in April 2020, to design and build the first FFG-62 class frigate. The programme is for a total of 20 ships.

Neil Pickard, SVP – Land & Sea, Business Development and Future Programs said:

“We’re excited to join Fincantieri on the U.S. Navy’s newest frigate program. We’ve been strong international partners for many years and now we’ll work together in the U.S. for the first time to deliver world-class American-made products for our military.”

The first set of propellers (two per ship) is scheduled to be delivered to Fincantieri in 2023.

Rolls-Royce say:

“The propellers will be manufactured in Rolls-Royce’s recently upgraded Pascagoula, Mississippi foundry and will be some of the first work to utilize the newly installed state-of-the-art equipment and renovated facility; funded through investments from the DoD, Rolls-Royce, Jackson County (MS) and the state of Mississippi.

Each propeller for the FFG-62 class frigate weighs more than an average passenger bus. The Rolls-Royce Pascagoula Foundry is one of only two facilities in the country qualified to cast propellers of this size for the U.S. Navy. In fact, ninety-five percent of the commissioned U.S. Navy surface fleet is equipped with Rolls-Royce propellers.”

The work will be done in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Naval components manufactured by Rolls-Royce at Pascagoula include controllable-pitch propeller systems, fixed-pitch propellers, and water jets.

You can read more here.

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Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago

Seems like RR has been “propelled” to the front of the casting business.😋

DP
DP
2 months ago

Excuse the ignorance but anyone know what the benefits of a ‘fixed-pitch’ propeller are? I would have thought variable pitch would give the ship more control at a wider range of speeds, both low speed and high. To me, not someone who is a mariner, ‘fixed pitch’ sounds a little more restrictive, like all or nothing. Is it down to lower maintenance/repair costs? Fewer working parts to go wrong under water etc. ….. and why are they still made from heavy steels when there are composite materials used in the likes of the aerospace industry that ‘might’ do the job… Read more »

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

Composite marine propellers have just started to break in to the outboard motor sector as they are similar in strength to aluminium which most are made of but tend to be more durable. Larger props are generally made of a mix of aluminium/stainless/yellow alloys which does increase strength – not sure if it’s heading that way but it makes sense as composites tend to vibrate less, reduce stress on shafts etc and absorb impacts better without denting etc. Composites don’t corrode (sea water or galvanic) either so who knows… Maybe in the future but I’m not a marine design engineer… Read more »

Watcher Zero
Watcher Zero
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

Variable pitch propellers are more efficient and manoeuvrable yes, however its a hydraulic system with extra maintenance and the blades sometimes get stuck in position. i.e. more noise.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

I believe the issue with Variable pitch propellers for USN Frigates is more to do with the BMI … fixed pitch gives more initial lift whereas variable, depends on what breakfast they ate ….. McDonalds have been working on this issue for decades but alas…. they have only come up with the Happy Meal to date…..

Nate m
Nate m
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

huh? what does makies got to do with frigates. tell me if i am wrong but doesn’t fixed pitch just a waste on fuel.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

Fewer working part also make less noise good for Asw, and cost less and expense of efficiency.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes, certainly the USN has ASW as a primary role for the Constellation class as well as increase suface presence.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Increased surface presence is a direct result of the BMI previously mentioned.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

FPP are less complex bits of kit, therefore cheaper to manufacture and maintain unlike CPP.
Like you say, CPP give a wide range of speeds, including going backwards without having to reverse the engine direction.
Ships speeds can be altered without the need to change ERPM, perhaps the USN do not need this level of manoeuvrability from these vessels?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

With careful design a fixed pitch prop is very very quiet and is ideal for an ASW platform. T23 has fixed props which was a big change from T22 which had CPP. CPP is also complex. You need to get the oil down the shaft to the hub to alter the pitch . The pipework and connections on the end of the shaft in the engine room is known as the snake pit for good reason. In the new green pink and fluffy world CPP can also leak oil into the sea so its not very good for the environment.… Read more »

DP
DP
2 months ago
Reply to  DP

Thanks folks for all your replies, much appreciated. As clarified with these answers, more moving parts can lead to increased noise so less desirable for ASW models. I guess there are bearings in a variable pitch which, over time, might wear and with it form an ever increasing source of noise. Interesting.

Andrew D
2 months ago

Any one know what Displacement these Frigates will be,bet there have a hell of a weapons fit wonder how there will compare to our new Type 31s,32s .

John F. MacMichael
John F. MacMichael
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I don’t know what the USN version will be but, according to the Wikipedia article linked above, the French version has a displacement of 6,000 tonnes and the Italian comes in at 6,700 tonnes.

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Well, the Wikipedia page for the Constellation class says 7,408 tons, and armed with 32 x Mk 41 VLS plus 16 x canister launched ASM, plus Rolling Airframe Missiles for anti-aircraft defence. Compare that to the Type 31 if you like.

ATH
ATH
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

So converting US to metric units the same weight.

As to compare it with the T31. The T31 comes in at £250m plus some government equipment.

The first FFG-62 is $1.2B and the rest are a bit over $900 each. That puts the in the same ballpark as a T26.

One is a high end escort for all threat levels the other a VFM escort for medium threat areas.

Last edited 2 months ago by ATH
Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Why? Type 31 is designed to do a different task? Type 31 is a light presence Frigate designed to maximize availability of the 8 Type 26’s for the CSG’s and standing deployments, and as such is designed to be as cheap as possible.
Constellation is designed to be a primary surface combatant for the USN.
There’s a reason one costs over 1.2billionUSD and the other only 250million£.

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I was replying to the question above asking how they compare with Type 31.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

I know, and I’m asking why compare them, since they’re two very different things.

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

They are both frigates, so comparisons are inevitable. As to your point that T31 is a light presence frigate, that begs the question of why we are building them and not something more capable. Yes, I am aware that the answer is cost.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

To maximize the availability of our high-end frigates for tasking that require them, not everything needs a 1billion+£ FF. If you didn’t build lightly armed Type 31’s you’d have to send Type 26’s at 4-5 times the cost on the same taskings.
*edit* Also both being “frigates” is a fairly spurious argument.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dern
Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

There were originally 13 T26 planned. The only reason for the existence of T31 is that the budget would not stretch that far. Instead of increasing the budget, the RN gets a frigate built to a price tag. You can justify it however you like, but the reason for the T31 is cost, not operational requirement.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Except that the 5 Type 23’s that where built first, and that the Type 31’s are replacing where GP variants and the Type 26’s that would have been built wouldn’t have been fitted out to the ASW standard… so operational requirement certainly was part of the factor, why pay through the nose for a ship with features such as raft mounted engines, and provision for an ASW tail if there never is going to be an operational requirement for those features? Type 31 certainly was built to save money, but the idea that there wasn’t an operational requirement for a… Read more »

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I refer you to my earlier comment.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Which is still wrong.

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

<sigh> The RN originally wanted 13 T26, and they are getting 8 plus 5 T31 because of budgetary reasons.

The reason why 5 T23 are GP frigates is because only 8 sonar sets were acquired, and that was because of cost.

Cost, cost, cost.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Aha, that’s why they where built first 😉

Shockingly there is an operational dimension to it as well. But hey this was already pointed out….

Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

IT’S always money.

Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Say no more 👍

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The USN performed a thorough evaluation of the FREMM Frigate and found it a bit light in Damage Control Resilience, so they have tweaked it a bit which has added about 400 tonnes ( off the top of my head) of extra weight to the Design.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

They are also specifying a lot of US only supplied mechanical equipment. Pumps, electrical motors, valves, weapons, sensors etc. By the time they have redesigned the vessel to take all of this US manufactured kit the price will probably be more than twice that of a T26 with half the capability.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Half? US FREEM will have much more capability than UK Type 26.
In fact the UK Type 26 is a waste of a destroyer with so feeble capability for a ship of that size.
It is a big mistake to not have AAW capability in it. RN AAW is reduced to 4 T45 (+2 that should be in maintenance)

The Type 31 is a another mistake. A glorified OPV.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Alex, you do brighten my day up … In the RN a destroyer does AAW. In the RN a Frigate does ASW and General Duties. Size isn’t everything it’s capability that counts. The old adage applies that the size of the nail doesnt matter its how you hammer it in that counts. T26 has AAW capability in that it will have Sea Ceptor…which last time I checked onboard a T23 (a few months ago) is a local area defence AAW missile which will also shortly be getting an anti surface capability. T31 Frigate is taking the GP duties of the… Read more »

Watcher Zero
Watcher Zero
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Last news I saw the weight gain on the original proposal was now upto 1000 tons due to the extra electronic equipment theyve added (and naturally to maintain sea keeping capability counterweight has to be added).

UK Voter
UK Voter
2 months ago

Great news..
But our govt should be doing more to protect RR which is a national security priority. It is still selling off business divisions which it shouldn’t have to. The govt should be protecting it completely. It should come out of the pandemic the same size as it went in.

David
David
2 months ago

Is there a ray of sunshine in that only 10 ships, from memory, have been ordered with options on the rest; therefore, when it comes to options, could we see the on the water T26 be ordered instead?

Serious question.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  David

I thought it was 1 ( prototype ) + 9 but with an expectation of 20,which might give a very small glimmer of hope that the second 10 could be of a different Design but that would make no sense whatsoever,im happy to be corrected

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I share your views.