Our range of stabilisers is designed with the customer in mind, and our facility in Scotland has a proud history of delivering ship stability systems.  

Kongsberg Maritime produces a range of retractable and non-retractable stabilisers for naval and governmental craft, as well as for the commercial market. From its manufacturing facility in Dunfermline, Scotland, the company has a long history in the manufacture of ship stability systems, dating back to 1871 in nearby Edinburgh, when Brown Brothers was responsible for some of the most significant advances in steering gear.

A proud heritage

As sail gave way to steam, and then to diesel engines, manual steering became harder, and dangerous. It was the Browns who transformed the industry by introducing hydraulic steering gear systems. The overcapacity in shipping, and the consequent slump in the inter-war years, then saw the company diversify into launching systems for aircraft from ships, and, significantly, a joint venture with one of their old partners, Denny Brothers, to build a retractable fin stabiliser.

Today, the facility is the centre of production for the stabiliser and naval linear actuator steering gear product ranges. 

For naval ships, it’s important to have a stable platform both for sensitive equipment and also other mission-critical activities such as landing helicopters. Kongsberg’s commercial retractable stabilisers cover fin areas of 1.4m2 to 22.3m2 and derive from two basic families. Firstly, the Aquarius, which is targeted at smaller ferries, cruise vessels and large yachts. In addition, Aquarius has been used extensively on smaller naval vessels where the fins have the benefit of being able to be retracted when not in use. 

The Neptune range is larger in size and has been supplied for cruise ships, yachts and ferries. It has also been supplied to naval vessels such as the UK Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate, using our Neptune 200 size, and for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with two pairs of our Neptune stabilisers. Other Neptune systems have been used in the export market to various navies.

For the naval market, we regularly need to meet stringent noise and vibration criteria

There are two ranges of non-retractable products. The Gemini non-retractable stabilisers are normally used on offshore patrol ships, coast guard ships and various military vessels. The fins for non-retractable stabilisers are trapezoidal in shape and designed to fit within the beam of the vessel.

In addition, the Modular range is designed to meet military standards of noise, shock and vibration. Kongsberg modular stabilisers have been supplied to many of the world’s navies including Brunei, Malaysia, India, United States, Australia and the UK Royal Navy, clearly demonstrating the commanding position the product holds in the naval field. The non-retractable stabilisers cover fin areas of 2 m2 to 16.5m2. Both ranges offer a standard feature of all Kongsberg non-retractable fin stabilisers, which is the inclusion of the hull closing plate as an integral part of the fin unit. Accurately shaped to fit the hull lines, the installation procedure is simplified so that expensive seating structures and finishing work are avoided.

Naval linear actuator steering gear is similarly shock qualified for military use, to various customers around the world. Current projects are delivering to the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Navy for their Type 26 programme. Other company facilities produce the rotary vane steering gear range, which is also used on naval ships.

About the Kongsberg naval stabiliser range

Various types of Kongsberg Maritime stabiliser technology can be selected to match the vessel and its operating requirements.

  • Fin stabilisers are popular and suitable for a broad range of vessels and reduce roll when under way and at rest (using retractable fins).
  • The Neptune range uses a retractable fin that folds into slots in the hull and is ideal for large combatants and support ships.
  • The smaller and lightweight Aquarius range is suitable for smaller platforms such as OPVs. 
  • Fin designs have also been modified and control systems developed to provide stabilisation at rest capability for both the Aquarius and Neptune ranges, up to Neptune 300 size where this is requested.
  • Where it is not necessary or required for the fin to retract, a range of non-retractable stabilisers are available for military vessels.
  • A range of ice-class retractable fins is available, to allow ice-class ships to benefit from the Stabilisation-at-Rest (SAR) concept.

Pioneering products
Paul Crawford, Vice President – Naval Sales at Kongsberg
Maritime, says, “The selection of our retractable fin
stabilisers on a growing number of modern naval platforms
is a further demonstration of our pedigree in the naval
market, where the retractable-fin solution we have come
up with is truly pioneering.
“We supply stabilisers and steering gear to many
international navies. Our fins can be adapted to customer
requirements and while the product itself is standard, each
ship, and each ship type, has different hull lines so we work
closely with navies and shipyards in developing solutions,
that exactly match the ship and mission requirements.
“For the naval market, we regularly need to meet
stringent noise and vibration criteria to ensure our system
complements the mission-critical activities of naval ships. In
addition, we can supply Integrated Logistic Support to meet
the requirements of the customer.”