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Finning Re-Power Royal Navy'S HMS Biter Patrol Vessel

Finning Power Systems (Finning) has successfully installed two Cat® C18 ACERT propulsion engines as part of a major overhaul of HMS Biter, one of the Royal Navy’s Archer Class P2000 patrol vessels.

The 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.  

This first installation follows extensive testing and sea trials carried out by Finning, the sole supplier of Caterpillar engines in the UK and Ireland.  

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

These electronically controlled, high-speed engines feature Cat’s proven ACERT technology, to help reduce emissions, lower fuel consumption and improve efficiency.  

The primary role of P2000 vessels during peacetime is to provide officer training and seamanship. Already back in service following successful sea trials, HMS Biter’s primary tasking is the support of Manchester and Salford Universities’ Royal Naval Unit, taking students to sea for the weekends in the Irish Sea and for extended periods in UK and foreign waters. Other tasking includes supporting Royal Navy exercises and training, and working with youth groups and cadets.

Due to the shape of HMS Biter’s hull, Finning had to carry out a reverse installation of the two engines, meaning they both face the rear of the vessel. The engines and gearboxes are connected using a carden shaft and flexible coupling with integral support bearing, which is unusual in this type of reverse engine installation.  

Commenting on the successful redeployment of HMS Biter, Lieutenant James Smith Royal Navy, the Commanding Officer of the ship said:   “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. The supply of the ship’s new main engines was handled with great professionalism by Finning. This was recognised when Finning was invited to an official Rededication ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, the first time such an event has been attempted outside of a base port area for many years.”