Northrop Grumman and Rolls-Royce have signed an agreement with the French marine engineering company Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) to market and produce the WR-21 Marine Gas Turbine Engine. The business agreement, augmented by a License agreement between Northrop Grumman and DCN signed earlier this year, establishes a world class team for the intercooled and recuperated WR-21.
The WR-21 engine successfully completed the development phase of the United States Navy, Royal Navy, and French Navy funded full-scale development program in February of this year. As a part of the completed development, the engine accumulated approximately 2,100 fired test hours including a 500 hour endurance test in Pyestock, England, in 1998 and a 500-hour endurance test at the United States Navy's test facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, in late 1999. The final phase of the WR-21 Program has now started, with DCN's facility in Indret performing the 3,000-hour endurance qualification. On final completion of this phase in early 2002 and the subsequent shock test, the engine will be fully qualified for service under standards set by the United States Navy and will meet or exceed standards set by other Navies in the world.
Unlike conventional marine gas turbine engines, the WR-21's advanced cycle recovers energy from the engine's exhaust gas to increase fuel efficiency across the operating range. The increased fuel efficiency of the WR-21 delivers a number of benefits for ship operators: extended ship range for given fuel capacity, more unrefuelled time on station or reduced fuel storage requirements for a given range.
Rated at 25MW, the WR-21 is the first production aeroderivative gas turbine to incorporate compressor intercooling and exhaust heat recuperation technologies that deliver low specific fuel consumption across the engines' entire operating range.