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Tyne team power down as legendary engine is switched off at Sultan
3 April 2012

An era in naval engineering has passed with training on a powerhouse of the Fleet for the past 40 years ending.

Instructors at HMS Sultan in Gosport have fired up the Tyne engine, which has powered Type 21 and 22 frigates and Type 42 destroyers since the 1970s, for the last time.

HMS York, one of the last two warships still powered by Tyne engines, heads out to sea. Picture: LA(Phot) Stu Hill

FOR the last time the trusty Tyne engine – powerhouse for ships which have been the backbone of the Fleet for the past four decades – has been fired up at HMS Sultan.

With the ships that use the Rolls-Royce engine soon to pass into history, no longer do trainee sailors need to learn how to maintain them.

So the working engine at the School of Marine Engineering which has been used to instruct sailors since 1978 was run for the last time.

The Tyne was the standard ‘cruising’ engine for both Type 42 destroyers and Type 22 frigates, as well as earlier Type 21 frigates (for high speeds, the 21s and 42s used Rolls-Royce Olympus engines, the 22s the same firm’s Spey).

The Tyne team pose with their engine at HMS Sultan as it's run for the final time.

The 21s were sold to Pakistan in the mid-90s, and with the 22s now sadly all decommissioned and the 42s soon to join them – York pays off later this year and the very last of class, HMS Edinburgh, in 2013 with their replacement Type 45s now becoming operational – there’s no need to train engineers any more.

For the past 34 years that task has been performed in Raper Block (named after and opened by Vice Admiral Sir George Raper, the Royal Navy’s Chief Naval Engineer Officer in the early 1970s when the Tynes were introduced).

In a Navy powered by steam, the Tynes were revolutionary, marking a shift to gas; four decades on the revolution continues with Rolls-Royce’s latest gas turbines, WR21, fitted to all Type 45s – a static display of which is housed at Sultan.

One of HMS Cumberland's Tyne engines is replaced in Key West during her 2005 Caribbean deployment. Picture: PO(Phot) Ray Jones

“The decommissioning of the Tyne gas turbine – to be followed shortly by the larger Olympus engine – will bring a significant chapter in Royal Navy marine engineering to a close,” said Capt Trevor Gulley, Captain of the Royal Navy School of Marine Engineering.

“The introduction of the Tyne brought a revolution to warship propulsion from a predominantly steam driven fleet into the modern gas turbine age.

“After 35 years of excellent service across the Type 21, Type 22, and Type 42 frigate and destroyer fleets, the Tyne engine at Sultan has seen its last set of trainees.

“Gas turbine training will remain at the school with a running Spey engine in Type 23 frigates and the WR21 fitted to the Type 45 destroyer.

“The RN School of Marine Engineering remains fully-committed to the future and is looking forward to continuing gas turbine training with the next generation of engine for the Queen Elizabeth and Type 26 classes.”

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