Another LCS experiences an engineering casualty

Another LCS experiences an engineering casualty

The USS Coronado, a US Navy littoral combat ship two months into is maiden deployment, is returning to port for repairs after suffering an engineering breakdown on Monday, according to a NavyTimes report Tuesday.

Coronado is the fourth LCS this year to experience serious engineering casualties, but the first of the Independence class to do so. "The events have prompted the Navy's top officer to fast-track changes to the program now being briefed to leadership".

The Coronado is heading to an independent deployment in the Western Pacific when the blunder occurred.

"The crew took action to address the leak, and Freedom returned to homeport July 13 on her own power to conduct repairs on a separate, unrelated issue", the Navy said in a press statement. Metal fragments were discovered in the lube oil, an issue that engineers suspect was linked to a software issue in the engineering plant.

A further inspection of the engine found "significant damage" caused by rust and seawater, meaning further repairs will be needed, the "cost and timeline" of which are unknown.

Coronado actually has been deployed since June 22, but had been operating in Hawaiian waters for several weeks for the Rim of the Pacific exercise.

The littoral combat ships USS Independence, left and USS Coronado
Flickr U.S. Pacific FleetUS Navy'Dearly Needs Deeply Flawed Littoral Combat Ships in Pacific

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson released the following statement on August 30: "Last night's problem is the fourth issue in the a year ago".

USS Freedom, USS Forth Worth (LCS 3) and Milwaukee (LCS 5) also recently experienced a loss of propulsion at sea. Vice Adm. [Thomas S.] Rowden [commander, Naval Surface Forces] has completed the review, which recommends changes to the crewing, deployment, mission module, training and testing concepts. "I am fully committed to ensuring that our ships and the Sailors who man them have the proper tools and training they need to safely and effectively operate these ships".

The Coronado left Pearl Harbor on Friday for the western Pacific, where it was to operate for at least 16 months based from Singapore.

"These ships bring needed capability to our combatant and theatre commanders; we must get these problems fixed now".

Still, with several billion dollars sunk into the plan and the Navy's priorities still squarely on quantity over quality, the LCS fleet is being constructed in earnest, even as the few already completed stumble back into the docks, because they didn't do so great on the reliability front either.

Coronado has LCS Crew 204 embarked.

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