The software fix to correct the glitch that precipitated a chain of events that resulted in extensive damage to the propulsion system of the Littoral Combat Ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) could be only weeks away, a Lockheed Martin official told USNI News.
Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training (MST), said the repair from the company was working its way through a series of approvals at Naval Sea Systems Command ahead of being installed on the ship.
“We’ve got our arms around it, we have got the root cause, we understand exactly what happened, we’ve got a prototype of the software fix working in the labs and we’re working through the approval process with NAVSEA to implement it,” he told USNI News last week.
“It’s months, if not weeks. It’s pretty simple.”
USNI News understands the software patches for two other Lockheed-built Freedom-class ships – Detroit (LCS-7) and Little Rock (LCS-9) – will be installed on the ships ahead of their commissionings with no delay in delivery schedule.
In December, Milwaukee suffered a propulsion casualty that sidelined the ship for two months. The cause was determined to be a failure for the ship to disengage its combining gear – the complex machinery that connects the output of the ship’s Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbine engines to the ship’s diesel to the driveshaft – in an emergency stop in time to prevent grinding of the clutches inside the gear that subsequently resulted in a propulsion failure.
After two months of repairs, the ship left Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va. for Naval Station Mayport, Fla. for shock trials.
Shortly after Milwaukee, sister ship USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) suffered a similar combining gear casualty but it was unrelated to software and widely thought to be the result of operator error.