Vericor Power Systems has begun upgrading the TF40B aeroderivative marine gas turbines that are the power plant for the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Vehicles. “As part of this program, TF40B engines will be upgraded to the Enhanced TF40B configuration to be known as the ETF40B,” said Richard Clinton, Director of Engineering for Vericor Power Systems. “The ETF40B engine will generate in excess of 15% more power at Maximum Intermittent Power, while requiring only minor changes to the current installation. Also, the new engines will offer improved fuel efficiency with significantly reduced maintenance efforts,” Clinton added.
The ETF40B achieves its increased power and improved fuel efficiency through redesign of the compressor and turbine sections. The compressor has been redesigned to achieve higher flow and pressure rise while the turbine has been optimized to match these improvements. The resulting maximum horsepower output for the ETF40B is 4,745 hp on a 100oF day. This power increase will allow the LCAC to perform in higher ambient temperatures, transport heavier loads or achieve higher speeds as necessary.
The additional power available from the engine will allow execution of a majority of the craft’s current mission at a lower engine rating point, extending component life significantly.
Life cycle costs will be further improved by additional configuration changes incorporated into the ETF40B, such as anti-corrosion coating on compressor blades and vanes, strengthened compressor discs and improved bearings and seals. Bleed air capacity also has been added to the engine for anti-icing.
Integral to the ETF40B configuration is the introduction of the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) to ease maintenance, increase diagnostics capabilities and lower life cycle costs. The FADEC will interface with the craft’s upgraded Control and Alarm Monitoring System (CAMS).To date, more than 400 TF40Bs have been delivered for the LCAC program, logging more than 300,000 hours under demanding conditions. The LCAC is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 60-ton payload. It is used to transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel from ship to shore and across the beach.