U.S. Navy sailors traverse the world aboard incredibly complex ships. But how well do they know the engines powering their missions? For the crew of the USS Cincinnati that was the goal of their recent visit to GE Aviation.
The USS Cincinnati, a U.S. Navy Independence class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), will be commissioned and officially join the Navy fleet later this year. When the USS Cincinnati’s Commissioning Foundation arranged for the ship’s crew to visit the city of Cincinnati earlier this spring, the GE Aviation employees serving on the foundation knew they had a unique opportunity on their hands.
Among the swirl of events the crew participated in during their tour—a Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game, a visit to a local high school’s Navy ROTC class, and an honors ceremony on the field at the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day—the USS Cincinnati’s crew got to meet the GE Aviation employees who built the two LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine engines they’ll be relying on to propel their ship around the world.
While the U.S. Navy is GE Marine’s biggest customer, it’s not every day that the crew of a naval vessel pays a visit to the facility where their engines were built. Throw in the fact that the USS Cincinnati’s LM2500s are produced in its namesake city and it’s safe to say this was a unique meeting of creator and end user.
The sailors and LM2500 team members were able to exchange words of gratitude to one another before they all signed a USS Cincinnati banner, which now proudly hangs in the engine production facility. During the visit, the sailors were given a tour of the GE Aviation Learning Center and LM assembly line, then viewed a component test.
GE’s most popular aeroderivative marine gas turbine, the LM2500 is built specifically for the open seas. Not only do these engines power swift combat ships but also cruise ships, high-speed ferries, and luxury yachts. The LM2500s aboard the USS Cincinnati pack a punch; they produce 29,500 horsepower each, allowing the ship to zip along in excess of 40 knots, or 46 miles per hour. And the U.S. Navy is not the only fan of this workhorse marine engine; LM2500s can be found powering 646 ships for 35 different navies around the globe.
This isn’t the first time the USS Cincinnati name has adorned as U.S. naval vessel. The first iteration was a steam-powered “Ironclad” that saw combat during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Most recently, the USS Cincinnati name was assigned to a Los Angeles-class submarine that cruised beneath the seas before ending its 18-year career in 1996. Today’s USS Cincinnati could be considered a slight technological upgrade over the Civil War-era ship, and unlike the submarine, this iteration will make its living above the surface beginning later this year.