Russian Navy to get Russia’s first naval gas turbines

Saturn VMF, the daughter company of the Rybinsk based NPO Saturn is ready to deliver first Russian made gas turbines for the Russian Navy. As Yuri Kuvyrkin, the official representative of Saturn informed the correspondent of PravdaRu, one of the two ready engines M75RU is intended for patrol ships, the most demanding niche, where Russian manufacturers expect the quickest returns. M70FRU was designed for small missile ships, air cushion ships, small anti-sub ships, corvettes and light cruisers.

In soviet time Nikolaev based Zorya Mashproject used to specialize on building naval turbines for the soviet Navy. After disintegration of the USSR Russia started the development of replacing programs immediately. In 1992 Russian government awarded NPO Saturn the status of the head organization on designing and making naval turbines.

Today Saturn’s M75RU and M70FRU created on the basis of the industrial gas-turbine engine Saturn GTD-4 are completely adapted for the work in the conditions of the sea environment and can consume also diesel fuel. M75RU has the power of 7000 h.p., M70FRU – 14000 h.p., M90FR – 27500 h.p.

Naval gas turbines have paramount importance for the Russian Navy. According to the public statements of Leonid Ivanov, the Naval Programme Director of Saturn-VMF, at the last Naval Salon in St. Petersburg, the particular properties of the new engines first and foremost concern the coast guards, for whom the high speed of their patrol boats is the key parameter. It has also a great economic value. Over its service life, each patrol boat, as it catches up with a poacher, returns 30 rubles per ruble invested in the construction of the ship. In fact it means a pay off period of about a year.

Aleksandr Burutin, the head of United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK) also stated that building a modern navy, requires guaranteeing the deliveries of the engines it needs. He called the work done by NPO Saturn extremely important.

In the foreseeable future it will be important to keep in mind one more entity in the market of naval gas turbines. Joint Russian-Ukrainian venture Turborus was founded by NPO Saturn, Zorya-Mashproject, NPO Avrora (St. Petersburg), JSC TST (Technical Systems and Technologies, St. Petersburg) and Moscow based Turbocon Ltd. The main shareholders are NPO-Saturn and Zorya-Mashproject, the shares of other are approximately equal. Turborus deals with the repair and service of all gas turbines operated by the Russian Navy. According to Yuri Kuvyrkin each fleet of the Russian Navy has a branch of Turborus. However, branch does not mean base or repair workshop. It means service. Turborus delivers spares, arrange shipments of the engines to / from manufacturer for repair. In the overwhelming majority of cases the engines are repaired in Nikolaev.

The experience gained within the projects of Turborus on repairing existing 3rd generation engines was used in creation of the 4th generation engines now offered by Saturn VMF. These engines in various combinations completely meet the requirements of the existing and perspective ships of the Russian Navy and Border Guard Service for the next 10-15 years.

However, according to the well informed sources of PravdaRu in the St. Petersburg based Engineering Academy it is too early to speak of the complete independence of the Ukraine. The engines are ready, but not the whole turbine system. This work is still to be done. For example, Russia does not have manufacturing and testing capacities for making reducers. There are technical questions with the automated control systems. The systems which allow shifting power from one to another board of a two turbines ship are only at the level of sketch designing. Recognizing the success of Saturn VMF and its technical superiority over another Russian designer of naval gas turbines, Moscow based Salyut, the source expressed careful optimism over the on-going works of Saturn.

Complete independence of the Ukrainian Zorya-Mashproject is referred to differently in different situations. Most often it is mentioned as nearly an official goal. But such statements are usually made for the media or by the media. Most recent statements by the top managers of the industry voiced at the specialized conferences and meetings, attended by the correspondent of Prvada.Ru, make it possible to conclude that there are enough high ranking people in Russia who think that there is no need to waste money on hurrying. Instead of duplicating the production capacities left in the Ukraine it is suggested to create principally new manufacturing, engines and systems.

Today Saturn concluded first contracts with the Design Bureau Alexeeva (specializing on the hydrofoil and air cavity ships) on adjusting the new turbine engines to the specific types of ships. First results are expected this year. The Maritime Collegium of Russia headed by the First Vice-Premier Sergey Ivanov at its Nizhni Novgorod meeting supported this direction of cooperation. After that meeting the head the naval projects of Saturn VMF Leonid Ivanov said that cooperation between the two companies could become fruitful in the field of creating patrol and landing ships, air cushion ships and also screen planes.

Yuri Seleznev

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Author`s name Alex Naumov