Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is conducting an “engineering review” to determine if recent equipment troubles experienced by several Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) point to design or “systemic” issues, according to the head of NAVSEA.
The review is looking at the “range of the issues that we’ve seen so far” with the propulsion system, Vice Adm. Thomas Moore said Nov. 2. The results will be reported to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
While NAVSEA is also looking at how LCS personnel are trained, Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander of Naval Surface Forces, has “already put some pretty good recommendations in place that I think will enhance the training levels of the crew,” Moore told reporters.
Despite the program’s problems, Moore said he is pleased with the overall progress of LCS, whose prime contractors are Austal USA and Lockheed Martin [LMT]. The Navy has accepted delivery of eight of the 28 LCSs it plans to buy to perform anti-submarine, mine and surface warfare. The ninth LCS, the future USS Little Rock, is to be commissioned in the spring in Buffalo, N.Y.
“We probably had some initial growing pains with some of these things, but I’m satisfied that we’ll come through those going forward,” Moore said. “We’re churning them out pretty quickly, and they’re going out there and they’re doing well on trials.”
Moore noted that the cost to fix the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) was originally thought to be more than $30 million but ended up being a relatively modest $5.6 million. The ship was repaired in Singapore after sustaining damage to its combining gears in January. The gears allow the vessel to configure its gas turbines and diesel engines to provide propulsion. The Navy has attributed the damage to a failure to follow established maintenance procedures.