UK-based Rolls-Royce has confirmed it will compete to supply propulsion for Italy’s new €5.4 billion (US $6.13 billion) naval shipbuilding program, and has opened the bidding by promising to beat US rival General Electric on life-cycle costs.
In a briefing in Rome, David Kemp, Rolls-Royce vice president for naval sales, said the company was committed to winning contracts on the program, which he called “arguably the most important naval program in the world today.”
As a large number of vessels reach obsolescence, the Italian Navy has secured the funding to build a new logistics ship, a landing helicopter dock (LHD) and at least six multifunctional ships, known by their Italian acronym PPA, which have been designed in-house by the Navy to handle civil and naval missions.
GE has offered its LM2500, or a variant thereof, for the PPA vessels, and managers have said they will seek to offer synergies since Italy’s FREMM frigates and other vessels use the engine. Choosing GE, the managers have said, will benefit maintenance centers the firm already operates in Italy.
Taking a different approach, Rolls-Royce argues that if Italy selects its MT30, it will need to think a lot less about maintenance.
“The MT30 will need no major overhaul in 30 years,” said Rolls-Royce’s Italy CEO , Giuseppe Ciongoli. “I don’t think anyone else has this capability. GE has facilities and has to defend jobs. We want to introduce a new concept which will diminish the need for maintenance for the benefit of the Navy.”