Gas turbine training full ahead

This article has photo gallery Published on Miss Leanne Brook (author)

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Cerberus, Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD), Frigate Helicopter (FFH), Guided Missile Frigate (FFG), Fleet Support Unit

Members of the Royal Australian Navy and staff from General Electric with the LM2500 Gas Turbine. (photo: Unknown)
Members of the Royal Australian Navy and staff from General Electric with the LM2500 Gas Turbine.

More often thought of as what powers aircraft traversing the skies, the gas turbine is also what gives many Australian Navy ships their get up and go. For maintainers of those gas turbines, training is on the improve.

Gas turbines are used in Adelaide and Anzac class frigates, and in both Canberra class amphibious ships, but until recently, maintainers didn’t have a training environment ashore that was real-to-life.

General Electric provides support across Navy for the LM2500 gas turbine, turbine control system and the electrical generator.

Navy and General Electric have been working closely over the last year maintaining the new additions to the LM2500 fleet, and have also made great progress in identifying and securing critical sparing and refining maintenance procedures to be more efficient and to provide the highest level of reliability.

The Adelaide class are approaching the end of their service life, therefore the Royal Australian Navy has repurposed two of the LM2500 gas turbines, as they are no longer required for the sustainment of the Fleet. 

Both General Electric and Navy recognised that the engines could be re-tasked as training aids for both new trainees and experienced LM2500 maintainers.

In a collaborative effort between industry and Navy, General Electric provided an LM2500 gas turbine to the Fleet Support Unit – South East and assisted with installation at Fleet Base East in Sydney.

The LM2500 is accessible and available for maintainers to practice preventative and corrective maintenance procedures ashore before getting to the pressure of underway maintenance.

Captain John Metzl, Royal Australian Navy Director of Maritime Cross-Platform Systems Program Office, who manages the LM2500 In-Service Support Contract between the Commonwealth and General Electric on behalf of Navy recently visited the facility and met with maintainers.

He said that it was an excellent demonstration of a true collaboration across the Naval Enterprise with technical sailors working closely with industry and other Defence Groups, to provide an innovative approach to directly supporting the Fleet.

“I was most impressed with the enthusiasm of the Fleet Support Unit staff and General Electric personnel in providing the best service they could to gas turbine maintainers in HMA Ships,” he said.

“This is an innovative win-win situation and I congratulate those involved for their patience, perseverance and long term vision to make an idea reality. Bravo Zulu.”

Furthering this effort, General Electric has shipped a second Navy LM2500 gas turbine to HMAS Cerberus for installation later this year, to benefit both new and existing maintainers prior to entering or re-entering the Fleet. 

Previously, an LM2500 maintainer’s first exposure to the turbine would be onboard an in-service vessel. Performing maintenance tasks for the first time on an in-service aero-derivative engine is challenging, and hence this effort introduced an exciting and valuable new capability for Navy.

Navy personnel will now be able to train and practice their skills on an actual engine at any time during their career. 

From training at HMAS Cerberus, to practicing skills while at Fleet Base East, and even the seasoned LM2500 maintainer who needs to solve a problem or brush up on an infrequently performed task, the LM2500 maintenance engines will improve the fleet’s operational capability.