After two months pier side, USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) departed Virginia at reduced speed bound for Naval Station Mayport, Fla. and shock trials, USNI News has learned.
The Navy would not confirm any details of the departure, but USNI News understands the ship is operating on under propulsion limitations and moving slowly down the East Coast on its diesel engines with restrictions placed on its Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines engines. The ship suffered damage to its combining gears – the complex mechanism that links the output of the diesels and turbines — in mid-December that sidelined the ship for two months.
An amateur photograph provided to USNI News shows the ship leaving Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story on Wednesday.
Typically the transit for a Navy destroyer or cruiser – which the LCS are faster than — operating on all its engines would make the transit in about two days. Operating only on diesels, the transit could take stretch into next week or longer.
Repairs to the ship are almost complete and will be finalized in Florida, sources told USNI News. In addition, Lockheed Martin and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) are continuing to examine the ship’s control system software.
Press reports point to a faulty fuel valve that prompted the emergency stop of the MT30s, triggering a chain reaction in hardware and software that resulted in the grinding of high-speed clutch plates and ultimately the propulsion systems failure.
The failure of the control system software to disengage the clutch in time is thought to be the prime culprit for the resulting damage.
Once in Mayport, Milwaukee will undergo shock trials to test how the ship’s systems will perform under combat conditions.