Rolls-Royce Unveils New Unified Ship Designs

Rolls-Royce says the new vessels will be distinguishable no matter what the vessel type. Image credit: Rolls-Royce

Ship designers at Rolls-Royce have unveiled what the company describes as a radical overhaul of its vessel design philosophy aiming to optimize vessel construction and operations without sacrificing space on board.

In the process, the new unified designs will also ensure that a Rolls-Royce-designed vessel, whether it’s an offshore support vessel or expedition cruise ship, will be instantly recognizable world-wide.

“The new design incorporates four key features in each design,” Rolls-Royce explains. “These are a knuckle line that slopes down towards the bow and links the new designs with older UT and NVC designs. A vertical side area and vertical upper stem which simplify the design and decouples the hull form from the superstructure. The vessels will also have a topside sheer line with a small convex curvature. These features will be present in all the designs in some form but can be modified depending on the ship type.”

Rolls-Royce noted that certain ship types may require more design modifications than others, and Rolls-Royce naval architects will have the freedom to adjust and apply certain designs to suit each particular vessel as long as they incorporate the four ‘must use’ elements.

Martijn de Jongh, Rolls-Royce Chief Designer – Marine, said: “Less is often more in ship design and while the new elements have been devised to ensure every Rolls-Royce ship is built for optimum performance and functionality, they will be distinguished by their clear angles, clean shapes and faces. We have evaluated the profile of the vessels to omit any unnecessary aspects, like excessive large windage areas, for instance. They will be easier to build as well.”

A major feature of the approach is the decoupling of the hull design from the superstructure and other design elements, giving designers and naval architects significantly more flexibility, according to Rolls-Royce. This minimizes complex double curvature plating, common to many vessels, which is difficult and time-consuming to fabricate. The use of flat plate or single curvature plating will be increased, simplifying construction and reducing build time.

Depending on the vessel type and operational and construction requirements, the forward topside will be based on five distinct hull forms, which will allow the designs to be applied across a range of vessels from offshore vessels involved in subsea work in harsh environments to expedition cruise ships. “All will have a canopied superstructure featuring a curved front with the bottom edge of the bridge wings and windows leaning down towards the bow to create a continuous line flowing into the bow,” said Rolls-Royce.

So far a number of vessels designed in accordance with the new guidelines have been ordered and are now under construction. In fact a UT 540 windfarm vessel due for delivery from Spain’s Gondon shipyard in October is typical of how the new family of UT vessels will look, Rolls-Royce says.