LCS Coronado Develops Propulsion Problems

File image courtesy USN

Published Aug 30, 2016 9:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy's Third Fleet announced that the Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Coronado suffered an engineering casualty on her maiden overseas deployment and is returning to Pearl Harbor for repairs. 

The Independence-class is built by Austal, and is a separate platform from the Lockheed Martin-built Freedom-class LCS, which has had its own problems with propulsion systems. 

The Navy did not give specifics regarding the nature and severity of the casualty, but said that the Coronado was under way under her own power. She is accompanied by the fleet oiler Henry J. Kaiser on her voyage back to port. 

The casualty came just four days after the Coronado's departure from Hawaii and only two days after the Navy announced a major engine casualty on the USS Freedom. 

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson gave an extended statement on the run of problems the Navy has had with its controversial LCS program. 

"Last night's problem is the fourth issue in the last year. Some of these were caused by personnel, and some were due to design and engineering . . . These ships bring needed capability to our combatant and theater commanders [and] we must get these problems fixed now,” he said.

"To address the personnel and training issues, I established a program-wide review . . . which recommends changes to the crewing, deployment, mission module, training and testing concepts," Richardson continued. "The review is being briefed to leadership before implementation. [It] will result in the retraining and certifying of all LCS Sailors who work in engineering."

Separately, Bloomberg broke news Monday of an internal Department of Defense review of the Navy's Ford-class aircraft carrier program, which has hit trouble in testing due to the incorporation of multiple new, unproven technologies. The Navy still intends to take delivery of the lead vessel by the end of the year.

An unnamed source told Bloomberg that the review would not have an effect on the design of the first two vessels in the class. The total cost of the three Ford-class carriers is expected to come to $42 billion.