Lockheed Martin, Navy Have Not Determined if Failure That Sidelined USS Milwaukee is a Class Wide Issue

January 11, 2016 4:11 PM
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) during high-speed runs during sea trials. Lockheed Martin Photo
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) during high-speed runs during sea trials. Lockheed Martin Photo

It’s still too early to say if the propulsion problem that sidelined the Navy’s latest Littoral Combat Ship – USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) – is a class-wide issue, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Littoral Ships & Systems, told reporters on Monday.

The company and the service are now combing through a series of computerized “logic statements” to see what series of instructions caused the two clutch mechanisms in the ships combining gear – the mechanism that pairs the ship’s Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines with the ship’s Colt-Pielstick diesel engines to Milwaukee’s water jets—to slip, wear and likely contaminated the lube oil system, according to a working theory of the casualty failure provided to USNI News last month.

“We’re still going through he root cause analysis with the Navy on that.
It’s probably too early to neck down to exactly what it is,” Lockheed’s Joe North told reporters at a briefing ahead of the Surface Navy Association 2016 symposium.
“We don’t know if it’s a single ship issue or if it’s a class issue, right now.”

Since the ship was towed into port at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va. on Dec. 11 engineers from Lockheed, its sub contractors – including German gear manufacturer RENK – and the service have combed through the logic statemnts looking for what specific software instructions the ship’s computers sent to the gearing system that resulted in the slips that sidelined Milwaukee.

“It’s complicated because it’s through he propulsion train we have to have to go through all the logic statements and work everything through,” North said.
“The positive side is we took [the clutches] out and we’re replacing them.
You’ll see her sailing out here in a about a month’s time she’ll be under her own power sailing to Mayport.”

The issue with the combining gear, USNI News understands, has not been seen in any of the other Freedom-class ships and the service has told USNI News Milwaukee’s problems were not part of a larger class problem.

Following the repairs – estimated to complete in early February – the ship will move to Mayport to undergo shock trial tests for the service.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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