A Marine First In Korea

By Jack Burke27 November 2017

GE said its LM500 marine gas turbines now power the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) first PKX-B patrol boat.

The ROK Navy took delivery of this new surface combatant on Oct. 30; the 220-ton PKX-B Chamsuri II class ship was built by the Hanjin Heavy Industries Inc. shipyard, and can attain speeds over 40 knots.

The LM500 is derived from GE’s TF34/CF34 turbofan aircraft engine and has 90% commonality with the CF34 engine that powers the popular CRJ100/200 regional jet with more than 14 million hours of operation. The simple cycle LM500 is a two-shaft gas turbine, rated at 4.6 MW (ISO), consisting of a gas generator, a free power turbine and cold end drive capabilities.

The ROK Navy plans to acquire 16 PKX-B ships which are powered by two LM500 gas turbines and two diesels engines in a combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) configuration. The PKX-B will complement the larger, 500-ton PKX-A Gumdoksuri class patrol boats to provide maritime protection and defense in and along the ROK’s seaways. Both the PKX-A and PKX-B ships are powered by GE’s LM500 marine gas turbines. The PKX-A Gumdoksuri class is an 18 ship program; the first patrol boat entered service in 2008.

An artist’s rendering of the PKX-B patrol boat

“Thanks to our longstanding relationships in Korea, we were able to ensure an integrated PKX-B hull design featuring our compact LM500 marine gas turbines,” said Brien Bolsinger, GE’s vice president of Marine Operations. “It was beneficial to work directly with key component manufacturers in a complete system design analysis of the PKX-B to optimize all components and performance — from the gas turbine inlet to the water jet.”

GE said the PKX-B propulsion system includes improvements over its PKX-A predecessor. While both are powered by LM500 marine gas turbines, the starter is now electric and other changes were made to the packaging and integration to improve performance, reduce weight, simplify designs, save space and lower costs, the company said. Improvements include a 45% reduction in space and weight; 7% power increase and improved accessibility to service key components, thanks to in-country team collaboration.

GE maintains an integrated approach from build to delivery of the propulsion system to the ROK Navy, ensuring end-customer satisfaction; this is accomplished through Hanwha Techwin, a GE marine system partner. To date, Hanwha Techwin has provided 36 LM500 gas turbine propulsion modules for the PKX program.

As in the PKX-A program, Hanwha Techwin will continue to locally manufacture selected LM500 parts as well as assemble, test and install the completed propulsion modules for each PKX-B ship. GE provides technical support and oversight of Hanwha Techwin’s LM500 master test cell operation, and supports the program during each phase of assembly, building, testing and installation. The GE-Hanwha partnership keeps GE engaged with key stakeholders while enabling timely customer and product support.

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