Finning re-powers Royal Navy's HMS Biter patrol vessel

The Cat C18 ACERT propulsion engine which has been installed by Finning Power Systems The Cat C18 ACERT propulsion engine which has been installed by Finning Power Systems

A major overhaul of one of the Royal Navy’s Archer Class P2000 patrol vessels, 'HMS Biter', has seen two Cat C18 ACERT propulsion engines installed by Finning Power Systems.

The two diesel engines, each rated at 873 bhp at 2200 rpm, form part of the propulsion package along with ZF 2000 RV marine reverse reduction gearboxes and ZF 9000 Series ClearCommand controls.

And in an unusual move, due to the shape of HMS Biter’s hull, Finning carried out a reverse installation of the engines with both facing the stern of the vessel.

“Reverse installation is not that common in commercial applications, it is seen more in pleasure craft vessels where centre of gravity is important,” explained Paul Youé, sales manager, international and governmental marine sector at Finning Power Systems. “By having the engines in reverse, it allows the engines to sit further aft thus making the engine room a lot smaller and therefore providing more saloon or cabin space, which is critical to a pleasure craft’s success.”

He explained that as HMS Biter has a semi displacement hull, the centre of gravity is critical to the performance of the vessel. Therefore, placing the heaviest equipment - ie the engines, in the correct spot in the hull will dictate how fast the vessel will perform and also how stable she will be.

The engines and gearboxes are connected using a carden shaft and flexible coupling with integral support bearing, again an unusual feature in this type of reverse engine installation.

This work carried out by Finning is part of the company’s deal with Holyhead Marine Services and UK Docks Marine Services, which includes the re-power of three more of the Royal Navy's P2000 Archer Class patrol vessels - HMS Explorer, HMS Ranger and HMS Express, both also fitted with CAT C18 engines.

The electronically controlled, high-speed engines feature Cat’s ACERT technology, designed to help reduce emissions, lower fuel consumption and improve efficiency. They replace twin Perkins CV12’s.

The P2000 vessels are primarily used to provide officer training and seamanship, supporting Royal Navy exercises and training, and working with youth groups and cadets.

“After years of sterling service allowing countless students sea-time on board around the shores of the UK, HMS Biter was the first of the 16-strong P2000 fleet to enter an extended period of refit, during which time she was entirely re-engined, extending her life for a period of 15 years,” explained Lieutenant James Smith Royal Navy, HMS Biter commanding officer. “The supply of the ship’s new main engines was handled with great professionalism by Finning.”

Finning Power Systems will be at Seawork International this year to showcase its new diagnostic tool alongside two Tier III propulsion engines - the Cat C18 ACERT and Cat C32 ACERT, as well as the Cat C7.1 generator set.

Available for all electronic engine applications, the remote monitoring tool can be used on commercial and recreational vessels, as well as for tracking power generation performance.

Visit Finning UK at this year's Seawork International on stand number A131. 

By Katina Read 

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