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1960s Bundesmarine Olympus-powered Warship

starviking

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I have come across this snippet from a book on Brown Boveri, which states they were working with Bristol Siddley to deliver a marinised Olympus power plant for a warship project.

Technically extraordinarily challenging were the last two units in this series for ship propul-
sion. The activity started in 1961, when the German Ministry of Defense ordered a unit con-
sisting of a Bristol-Siddeley Engines Ltd. (BSEL) marinised Olympus 200 series engine as a
gas generator, together with a Brown Boveri Mannheim A. G. two-stage long-life marine free
power turbine. The responsible designer was Hermann Reuter, known for example as the
war-time designer of the PGT 101-103 series of tank gas turbines and for several compressor
designs for the BMW -003 turbojet series, whose work will be reviewed in detail in a book
project on BBC's aero engine activities 1935-1955. In this context he had collected expertise
which was also beneficial for integrating the first marine Olympus to this German Navy
project. A test bed for extensive shore trials had already completed over 1,000 hours of test
evaluation running, when the construction of the ship which was intended for gas-turbine
power was abandoned. Test running of the next marine Olympus began in 1966. The power
turbine was then single stage, operating at 5,600 rpm, utilising wide-chord blades.

Ref: Gas Turbine Powerhouse: The Development of the Power Generation Gas Turbine at BBC - ABB - Alstom

Does anyone have any extra information on this warship project? Olympus-powered craft ranged from corvettes to frigate/destroyer sizes (neglecting the later through-deck cruisers). 1961 puts it near the era the West German would be considering air defence ships, eventually catered for by the Lutjens Destroyers (based on the Charles F. Adams class). Would this be for an indigenous AD project? Possibly the Korvette, mentioned in this topic?
 

Hood

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Based on the time period it was probably for the Type 102 destroyer which was never ordered due to a preference for the US-built Lütjens class.
There were some stillborn frigate and light attack craft projects but they were all circa 1969-70.
 

uk 75

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Hood The type 102 destroyer sounds interesting. I remember seeing Germany in a list of Seacat customers but have no idea for which ships
 

Hood

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Interestingly Wikipedia makes the same claim but without a source;
The first Marine Olympus was built for the German Navy. In 1962 BSEL was contracted to provide the gas-generator and Brown Boveri was contracted to provide a two-stage long-life marine power turbine. A test bed was built for extensive shore trials. Construction of the ship which was intended for gas-turbine power was abandoned.

It's also worth noting that the Type 120 Köln class frigates built 1957-64 had a CODAG plant of 2x 11,800shp Brown Boveri & Cie gas turbines and 4x 2,960hp MAN 16-cylinder diesel engines.
Given the later Olympus TM was around 20,000shp, it feels like the two-stage powerplant would be around 30-35,000shp (60-70,000shp for a twin unit set) and that feels very much like a destroyer sized powerplant.
 

JFC Fuller

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The early Bristol Olympus marine gas turbines attached a single stage power turbine to the Olympus gas generator, they seem to have been rated at 15,000 SHP. The German proposal was to replace the Bristol designed single stage power turbine with a two stage power turbine designed by Brown-Boveri to effectively create a hybrid Bristol-Brown-Boveri marine gas turbine, it was still a single unit though. I find it hard to believe that in 1962 they would have got much more than about 20,000 SHP, this feels like a 15-20,000 SHP Gas Turbine - just my opinion though. My guess is the German's were looking at a refined version of the Koln plant, probably totalling out at around 50,000 SHP. That said the German's do seem to have liked fast ships in this period. This effort is referenced in an article entitled The Sea Experience of Bristol Siddeley Marine Gas Turbines from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, it was written by the Engineer in Charge at Bristol Siddeley so should be authoritative! At the time it was seen as the first opportunity to get a marine Olympus to sea.

I have not heard of the Type 102 destroyer designation before but it makes sense that with the German's being interested in the NBMR.11 small ship Guided Weapon system and designing their own propulsion systems there was a domestic German design prior to the off-the-shelf purchase of charles F. Adams class ships to create the Lutyens class. Like the design process that lead to the Tromp class in the Netherlands it would be great to know more.
 
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TomS

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That paper you linked gives a figure of 22,300 shp (maximum), 18,500 shp (cruise) for Marine Olympus in a displacement hull configuration.* Now, that's with Bristol's own proposed single-stage power turbine. The two-stage turbine Brown Boveri proposed ought to have in theory done a bit better, yes?

*Not sure why they figure slightly more for hovercraft or hydrofoil installations, but they do.
 

JFC Fuller

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That paper you linked gives a figure of 22,300 shp (maximum), 18,500 shp (cruise) for Marine Olympus in a displacement hull configuration.* Now, that's with Bristol's own proposed single-stage power turbine. The two-stage turbine Brown Boveri proposed ought to have in theory done a bit better, yes?

*Not sure why they figure slightly more for hovercraft or hydrofoil installations, but they do.

Indeed it does, I somehow managed to miss that table. It's certainly possible, depends what their design goal was. The units initially installed in Bristol and Exmouth seem to have been 15,000 SHP units.
 
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uk 75

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Hood I have browsed around and looked at my old books. Any chance of more info on the Type 102 zerstoerer
 

Anderman

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German Wikipedia has only short section on it saying that instead of building more class 101 (Hamburg) ships it was decided to build a number of modern destroyes first named "Zerstörer 59" later that was changed into class 102. This was beyond the german ship building industry of the 1960s and so the "Lütjens Klasse"(103) was ordered in the USA.

There are few sources on the Wiki for this but only books nothing online.

 

uk 75

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Anderman Thank you. The Hamburg class had a long service life and were elegant ships. A larger version with Seaslug or Tartar might be a fun Shipbucket drawing.
I noticed that the ref says Germany's shipbuilders could not build the ships so the Adams class were ordered instead.
 

RLBH

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Not sure why they figure slightly more for hovercraft or hydrofoil installations, but they do.
Quite simple - the application is more weight critical but doesn't require power to be sustained for so long. Running the engine at a higher rating to produce more power from the same weight, at the expense of shorter engine life and increased need for maintenance, makes sense.
 

JohnR

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In Friedmans 'Nuclear Age', it mentions an interest in British Gas Turbines by the .Navy. There is also a mention of a version of the Olympus; can't remember if it was under the auspices of Bristol of Rolls Royce with a power rating of 37,250hp. I've never seen any use of this power rating, could this be because of a short service life and indicated by the reduce power of the Dutch Turbines on Tromp to improve the life.
 

JFC Fuller

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In October 1960 the West German government applied to the Western European Union to have some of the restrictions imposed on German naval construction by the 1954 Brussels Treaty revised, specifically, the Germans requested the following increases in tonnage limits:

Supply ships: up to 6,000 tons
Destroyers: up to 5,000 tons (up from 3,000 tons)
Submarines: up to 1,000 tons (up from 350 tons)

The then West German Defence Minister Franz Josef Strauss stated that the uplift in Destroyer displacement was required to allow the ships to carry a surface to air guided weapons system. An increased limit was granted around 1961, I haven't confirmed but the approved change was widely reported as being a blanket uplift of 6,000 tons each for one supply ship and eight destroyers. The new destroyers were required if Germany was to meet it's MC 70 force goals as set by NATO under which Germany was to provide twelve destroyers in total. The Hamburg class provided four of these and six Fletcher class ships on loan from the US provided additional, albeit soon to be obsolete, units.

This aligns with the reference Hood has found in the UK archives relating to an offer of Seaslug to West Germany. I have also found references to the Germans being interested in the NMBR.11 requirement for a medium range small ship system (analogous to CF.299). However, their preference seems to have been for something low risk, off-the-shelf and immediately available. German sources state that the British offered to build County class ships in the UK for Germany, the idea was popular with Franz Strauss for international relations and foreign currency exchange reasons but the Bundesmarine disliked Seaslug and thought the surface-to-surface armament was inadequate. Ultimately, the Germans purchased the Lutyens class as repeat Charles F. Adams class ships, apparently including all the US Navy specified equipment.

This Der Spiegel article gives a good, if long winded, background to the acquisition the Lutyens class.

However, there does seem to have been a period, probably from 1959 until Karl-Adolf Zenker replaced Friedrich Ruge as Inspector of the Navy when the plan was to construct such vessels in Germany to a German design. That would explain the investment in the Olympus, the interest in NMBR.11 and the request to increase the tonnage of German built destroyers. Logically they would have been the Type 102 as the Hamburgs were Type 101.

In the end, the Brown-Boveri Olympus was ultimately installed in the Finnish Turunmaa class. The attached American Society of Mechanical Engineers paper describes the installation.
 

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