Home » Budget Industry » USS Freedom Sidelined After Propulsion Casualty, Diesel Engine Contaminated with ‘Rust and Seawater’


USS Freedom Sidelined After Propulsion Casualty, Diesel Engine Contaminated with ‘Rust and Seawater’

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle conduct coordinated flight operations with the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) in the Southern California operating area on April 30, 2015. US Navy photo.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle conduct coordinated flight operations with the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) in the Southern California operating area on April 30, 2015. US Navy photo.

The Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) is sidelined in San Diego, Calif. for repairs after Navy inspectors found extensive damage in one of its two main propulsion diesel engines, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Sunday.
The damaged Colt-Pielstick diesel engine needs to be replaced or rebuilt after the inspectors found that the engine’s lube oil system had been contaminated with seawater over a period of several weeks, Lt. Rebecca Haggard, with Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, told USNI News on Sunday.

Freedom’s number two main propulsion diesel was initially contaminated on July 11 when, “a leak from the attached seawater pump mechanical seal… resulted in seawater entering the engine lube oil system,” according to a timeline of the casualty provided to USNI News.
“The crew took action to address the leak, and Freedom returned to homeport July 13 on her own power to conduct repairs on a separate, unrelated issue. While in port, the crew performed seawater contamination procedures.”

Freedom returned to sea on July 19th to the 28th to complete its role in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 Southern California exercise operating on its Rolls-Royce MT 30 gas turbines rather than its main propulsion diesel engines.

Following the exercise, Freedom to returned to port where on Aug. 3 a Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s Diesel Engine Inspector looked at the engine and found, “significant damage to the engine caused by rust and seawater,” Haggard said.
“Based on initial assessments from the inspection, Freedom’s number two MPDE will need to be removed and rebuilt or replaced. The cost and timeline for the repair of the engine are unknown at this time.”

Given the type of damage, SURFPAC is launching an investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the casualty – mechanical failure, operator error or a combination of the two, Haggard said.

The damage is unrelated to a problem Freedom suffered on its initial deployment to Singapore in 2013 in which two of the four Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel electrical generators on Freedom overheated and shutdown.

Word of Freedom’s casualty comes as USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is in transit to San Diego following a separate propulsion causality in which operator error caused extensive damage to the LCS’ combing gear – the complex mechanism that links the output of the ship’s main propulsion diesels and the gas turbines to the ship’s water jets.

The January casualty cut short the deployment of Fort Worth by several months and resulted in the relief of the ship’s captain. A similar combining gear casualty occurred on USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) late last year but was related to a software problem, not operator error.

Commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden said more education maybe needed to prevent similar incidents in the future. He said findings of the recently completed LCS review board — tasked with evaluating how the Navy uses the ship class – would inform changes to how LCS are manned and crews are trained.

“Given the engineering casualties on USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth, I believe improvements in engineering oversight and training are necessary,” Rowden said in a statement.
“The recently completed LCS Review of manning, design, and training looked at a number of sailor performance and ownership factors, to include crew rotation, size and proficiency. From this work, I believe we will be able to make immediate changes to help reduce chance for future operator error. I am fully committed to ensuring that our ships and the sailors who man them have the proper tools and training they need to safely and effectively operate these ships.”

One naval analyst told USNI News on Sunday the casualty comes at a difficult time for the LCS program.

“Regardless of the cause, however, it comes at a sensitive time for the LCS program which still remains controversial both within the Navy and inside DoD,” Eric Wertheim, the author of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the Worldtold USNI News on Sunday.

“Eight years since the first unit of the class entered service, proponents and opponents on each side are still trying to figure out what the future of the LCS fleet will hold, how many ships should be built, where they should operate, and what types of missions they can perform. With all those questions still up in the air, any issues that arise can have an outsized impact on the future of the program.”

  • Dick_Gosinya

    The Navy needs to cut its loses and adopt an undated evolution of the Perry Frigate. The LCS concept is flawed on so many levels.

    • El_Sid

      Whereas a Cold War design that has demonstrably failed to be easy to upgrade and that fails modern habitability standards would be the answer to all the prayers.

      • Dick_Gosinya

        And the post-Cold War designs have been such a success!

      • Yet Europe builds Frigates that make SWO drool over for.

        • I’ll wait for Type 26 full design definitely not Type 31

          • I’ll take the FREMM class frigate or Incheon class frigate over the LCS.

          • Horn

            The FREMM is closer to a destroyer than a frigate. It’s almost twice the tonnage of the LCS, and 2000 tons more than the OHPs. The Incheon-class, however, is a good example of a solid frigate design.

          • That’s why I would seriously ditch the LCS and maybe make a deal with South Korea on the Incheon class Frigate

          • Horn

            I think you’ve missed other posts about that. There’s a law that prevents it from happening.

          • Not really because we can buy the license and rights to have it built in the US. The USCG has done it

        • Lazarus

          Those ships are the European equivalent of the DDG. The US already has a large force of such ships.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      There are better options than the Perry out there.

    • Lazarus

      Such a ship would cost over $1 billion a copy and have less than 1/2 the capability of a DDG 51 at 2/3 the cost of that class. A new “frigate” is a poor investment and with only 48 VLS cells, not very “survivable.” LCS relies on dispersion of units to limit enemy targeting options. Better to lose 1 of 4 LCS than 1 (and the only) frigate.

      • Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo

        “Such a ship would cost over $1 billion a copy”

        For example?

        • Lazarus

          The Australian Hobart class destroyer for a current example.

          • Horn

            That’s a AWD on a frigate hull.

        • Horn

          The OHP’s were about $1B each in today’s money. He’s actually correct on the price, but only the price. The fact that he believes that LCS will deploy in groups of four is folly.

    • John Townsend

      I served on the Perry Frigates – they also suffered from the severe design flaws that occur when trying to build something CHEAP, forgetting to be operationally good.

      • Horn

        The OHP’s were never cheap. They’d cost around $1B each in today’s money.

  • BudgetGeek

    “Eight years since the first unit of the class entered service, proponents and opponents on each side are still trying to figure out what the future of the LCS fleet will hold, how many ships should be built, where they should operate, and what types of missions they can perform. With all those questions still up in the air, any issues that arise can have an outsized impact on the future of the program.”

    This is the exact opposite of how a Navy should be built. We should be defining requirements based on strategy, capabilities and capacity, and threat assessments, then building systems to close the gaps. Instead, we build crap like this and then argue for decades about how to use it.

    • fartoomanyaccounts

      Well, to be fair, LCS is partly a result of a mistaken strategic decision made in the 1990’s-early 2000’s: “Well, looks like we won’t really need to be ready for blue water fights anymore. Let’s build lots of ships that are designed to do lots of short-range stuff right next to an enemy’s shore.”

      Which would be fine today–you do need some ships for stuff like minesweeping, support of special ops insertions, etc.–except for two things. One, the people who started up the LCS program and picked its requirements neglected to think much about how the LCS would actually survive being that close to any kind of enemy with decent anti-ship missiles. Two, it’s become clear that what we’re really going to need are fewer of those ships that specialize in close-in fighting and more multi-mission ships that can contribute to blue water combat against sophisticated enemy air and naval forces across long distances if they need to.

      So, I guess, there was some deeper thinking involved about how many ships of what kinds and capable of what things the U.S. Navy would need to meet its strategic requirements. It’s just that a lot of that thinking was wrong.

      So today the Navy is trying to somehow transform the last half of the LCS production run into vessels that might be relevant in higher-end combat. And without spending a lot of time and money in the process. Good luck to them with that.

      • Lazarus

        Thank Congress (sarcastically) for not giving the Navy enough money to build and maintain ships while it complains about their costs. LCS-4 (Coronado) just deployed with the same ASCM firepower (4 Harpoons) that the Perry’s had when still armed with the MK13 GMLS.

        • fartoomanyaccounts

          You’ll get no argument from me on that. The core of the Navy’s problem is as simple as it is serious: it’s not going to have enough destroyers, cruisers, and attack subs to meet the country’s strategic demands. That, of course, comes down to fiscal decisions made by Congress and the President.

          That said, how the existing & planned funds that are there are spent can certainly either make the effects of that deficiency either better or worse. And the LCS-frigate plan that’s now on the books would be a misallocation of scarce resources.

      • Curtis Conway

        “…It’s just that a lot of that thinking was wrong.” They were not just wrong, I think they perhaps were bought.

        • PolicyWonk

          Sadly this is likely true.

          What has become known as LCS is unrecognizable from the concept from which it was (in theory) derived: the ONR’s “street fighter” (~2001).

          • Lazarus

            Streetfighter was killed for good reasons; notably its inability to independently deploy.

    • Lazarus

      I agree with you that the Navy needs to return to a strategy-based force structure. That said, the US acquisition and test and evaluation system is so complex and slow, that it will take 10+ years to get any LCS replacement in the water (at a minimum.) LCS needs to work for its planned 20-25 year life span. The MCM-1 class mine countermeasure ships had similar engineering problems in the 1990’s. Better crew training and some equipment adjustments will help.

  • 0molson0Stephen Webber

    Back in WWII guys were trained quickly and old school engines worked great. Perhaps we should go back in time and make things a bit simpler !!!

    • sferrin

      Yeah, let’s fly Hellcats too. I’m sure that would work out grand.

    • The Plague

      Actually, WWII military gear was amazingly complex, particularly warships. And subsystem design was more difficult in those days, since it all had to be purely mechanical, electro-mechanical, or electron-tube based. But there was a certain fundamental simplicity to their overall operation, a painstaking attention to detail, and a quality-oriented mindset.
      Also, development was directed by engineers back then, who had always worked their way up from the production floors, and not by MANAGERS who firmly believe that they can control an airplane factory and a car rental agency with equal success, because they need zero comprehension of the processes that they are controlling. To such idiots that have run all the world’s once-great companies into the ground, production and development is just a bunch of buzzwords and statistics.

      • Lazarus

        Millions more people with lots more $$$ at hand ensured the WW2 era fleet performed as it did. That fleet was not competing with a massive federal welfare system for dollars as well.

        • The Plague

          What I was getting at in my post is that in WWII-days they knew how to engineer complex things on a tight schedule, build them well on the first try, and operate them without relent in such hostile combat environment that today’s pussy-soldiers cannot even dream up. They could do all that with paper and pencil and the slide-ruler.
          And that was not done by simply throwing money and people at the problem. They simply avoided false leads and conceived the right solution upfront and then saw it through quickly and efficiently – and downright ruthlessly, if that was what it took.

  • sferrin

    Watch people blame the ship instead of lack of funding for adequate training and maintenance.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      In 11 years there are 3 x ‘Freedom’s in existence.

      The Fort Worth, damaged badly
      The Freedom, see above
      The Milwaukee, Broke down the first time it hit sea water.

      So, it’s taken a decade to build 3 jet boats.
      That vessels have no functioning ‘mission modules’, and when you consider the cost of these fantastically non-functioning ‘modules’ come in well over half a billion dollars each.

      But sure, have your reports, sack yet more officers & ruin their careers.
      All sacrificed on the alter of:
      – a concept that is proven to be wrong
      – costs an incredible amount of money
      – have no functioning mission capability
      – And have all the mechanical robustness of papier mâché!

      But sure….. it’s not the ship….. couldn’t possibly be the ship!

      • sferrin

        As I said. . .

      • Lazarus

        So says the European ship executive looking to sell their class. The LCS is not a European frigate and was never designed as such. Engineering issues happen to ships all the time, except that LCS gets coverage thanks to all of our comments and counter comments here and on other sites. The concept is not wrong; prove otherwise. At $479 m a sea frame, LCS is the most affordable combatant the US can build. The US does not buy European designs as they don’t fit US needs. LCS has a function showing the flag. The now retired FFG 7 ships had little more capability in their last decade of service.

        • Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo

          “The US does not buy European designs as they don’t fit US needs. LCS has a function showing the flag”

          If that is their job, then why spend nearly $500m on it?
          It seems to me that this is a poor return for a vessel whose role (according to you) is to act as a ‘meet & greet’ in foreign ports.

          • Lazarus

            It also (now) has a war a sea capability if at least 4 ASCM’s are fitted. It’s helicopter facilities are also very capable and can support multiple helo-based ASW and mine warfare systems, as well as armed helicopters (with small cruise missiles of their own) and UAV’s like the firescout. A four ship LCS flotilla could field an 8 helicopter air group or 8-12 UAV’s. That is significant capability for the ship’s baseline cost of $479 million a unit.

          • Horn

            That capability is only useful against FACs. The Hellfire missiles (5 mile range) that the helos can carry are a far cry from “cruise” missiles. The only thing working on the LCS right now that is of any use would be the ONE MH-60. That’s a lot of money to spend on a single helo carrier with a limited self-defense.

      • JustAguy

        Not completely true. While your points are valid. The Surface Warfare Mission Module has been fully Operational since 2013.

  • The US navy needs to be slapped across the bow and simply cut it’s losses and buy a proven design from Europe and Built it here in America.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Yep… but people will spout some bull about being compelled to go “American”…. forgetting the plethora of European systems produced in the US from Coast Guard vessels to the gun sticking out of every tank.

      • Lazarus

        Ship hulls construction is not something the US Congress would ever delegate to European shipbuilders any more than Europeans would want ships built in the US to take European jobs.

      • Yet, when was the last time the US Navy ever built a good frigate.

        • Horn

          What was wrong with the Perry’s?

          • Perry’s were great for the cold war era but not for the 21st century.

          • Horn

            The OHPs were designed for anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare, to escort battlegroups and convoys. Yeah, like we don’t need those capabilities anymore.

          • El_Sid

            There was a decision taken in the early 90s that those kind of “high-end” elements of the Perry’s mission were going to be done by obsolescent Burkes, so the Perry’s mission was going to be split. One way of looking at it was that the threat had evolved so that the traditional idea of a frigate was no longer up to the job of independent bluewater escort – if you need a frigate that’s costing well over $1bn in modern money, then you might as well use the Burke production line and have a significantly cheaper design to cover the low end of the Perry mission.

          • What we need is a Frigate for all the low end work and work that doesn’t require a full blown burke.

          • Horn

            High end work = frigate
            Low end work = corvette

          • High end work is DDG. Medium is Frigate and Low end is Corvette/OPV

    • 1coolguy

      The Independence class LCS is performing as expected. The Freedom class LCS is the disaster.

      • Horn

        Except for that one little issue of extreme hull corrosion.

        • Lazarus

          Not a problem now. Was somewhat of an issue on LCS 2, but not on subsequent ships.

          • Horn

            How do you forget to electrically isolate steel from your aluminum hull?

          • Lazarus

            Improved Cathodic protection system.

          • JustAguy

            You mean like LCS 4 that’s been sidelined in Hawaii since she broke down on her way to beginning the first 2 Class Deployment. I mean you are right LCS2 did deploy to Florida recently.

          • Lazarus

            LCS-4 was in Hawaii receiving her full Harpoon outfitting. As of 26 August she was enroute to WESTPAC.

        • Curtis Conway

          And it has yet to deploy for an extended time. Gotta see those numbers, and experience.

      • Both of them are a disaster

    • which proven design? Even Type 26 is out yet. FREMM? very low probability

      • FREMM or the Incheon class frigate would be one option.

  • 1coolguy

    The Freedom class contract should be terminated with the Independence class winning out the LCS program going forward. Freedom class is a joke and an embarrassment to the navy and the country.

    • Bull Jones

      Agreed.

  • RobM1981

    Someone should tell that “one naval analyst” that the LCS program remains controversial outside of the Navy and DoD, too.

    Like, amongst those of us who paid for it, for example.

  • Horn

    Every time I see an Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate and its StanFlex modules, I think of what LCS should have been.

    • Lazarus

      Iver Huitfeldt could not be built in the US for under or even the same price as LCS. The Danes were able to subcontract many elements of the ship’s construction to cheap, eastern European shipyards; something the US could never do. European shipyards are often partially govt owned, or have long standing, close relationships with their governments (like Den-Maersk). European ships seem inexpensive, but many other costs are passed directly to their taxpaying citizens in the form of 50% income taxes. European govt’s pay for the health care of European workers, not Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics as in the US. European states also do not have the same byzantine acquisition and test and evaluation system that the US has. This messy and expensive bureaucracy has slowed all US defense acquisition to a crawl.

      The idea that Europeans somehow magically build ships for far less than the US is just a myth.

      • Horn

        I mentioned nothing about cost. The fact is those ships weren’t even fully armed when built, nor were they for a couple of years, thus adding a hidden cost. I was talking more about future capabilities, StanFlex, and the fact that the hulls and engines aren’t having problems. The USN could really use a multi-role frigate, something which the Iver Huitfeldt seems to function well as in the Royal Danish Navy now that she is fully armed.

        • Lazarus

          Why does the US need a multi-role frigate? What specific missions will it perform? We really don’t know if Stan Flex is having problems or not since their really isn’t much in news reporting on its capabilities. The Flyvefisken class (which originated Stanflex) was decommissioned long before the end of its projected service life. This may be from a change in Danish priorities but also could be a problem that has gone unreported by defense media. I agree that the Iver Huitfeldts work well for Denmark, but US requirements are much different. The Huitfeldt’s effectively serve as Denamrk’s equivalent to the US DDG 51 class.

          • Horn

            StanFlex has been successful with the Danes, hence why they continue to build ships with that in mind, but also to help keep the costs down because they don’t have to keep producing new weapons systems. StanFlex is proven to be able to swap payloads in a few hours, whereas LCS takes 4 days. Despite what it’s called, the LCS is a modular frigate. It was designed to fill a multitude of roles after swapping payloads, same as the Iver. The only difference is the Iver can fill more roles than the LCS at one time, has better offensive and defensive weapons systems, etc. I was all for the LCS program for years (which you can find on Disque,) but with all the problems we’ve had with the LCS and the changing threat environment, I’m left wondering why the ships are being defended so vigorously.

            With the threat shifting back to long range missiles and submarines, a multi-role frigate sounds like a great idea right about now. We don’t have enough Burke’s to fill the gap. Now, the LCS doesn’t have a functioning ASW or MCM module, an appropriate ASuW module, nor any real capability other than showing the flag. The upgraded “frigate” concept will be a multi-role frigate for all intents and purposes. I wonder why that is? Maybe, because the US needs one.

          • Lazarus

            The US can’t build a multirole frigate in the numbers that are needed to achieve a large number forward deployed. A multirole frigate costs 2/3 that of a DDG 51 while providing only 1/2 its capability. Not a good buy for the US. The US could not buy a Huitfeldt ship as can the Danes. A dedicated shipbuilder like Maersk can afford to lose some money on govt. contracts while dedicated US defense contractors (with few non military products) cannot. The US cannot also subcontract out parts of a shipbuilding program to Eastern European shipyards as did the Danes in building the Huitfeldts.

            Four dispersed LCS mounting 16 ASCM’s is more survivable (in an ASCM fight) than one frigate with probably no more than 8. An opponent must divide their fire in order to ensure the destruction of all 4 LCS. It may take multiple attempts to locate and sink all. An opponent may expend significant ASCM’s on just 4 LCS. One frigate, by contrast, need only be located once and sunk.

          • Secundius

            The “Jones” Act of 1920, Prevent’s the US Navy from Purchasing Ships from Foreign Sources. But the SAME Act, DOES Allow for Maintenance and Parts from Foreign Sources…

          • Horn

            First, you keep bringing back the Danish ships when it comes to cost. I understand more than you know on why they are cheaper. I never mentioned European countries building ships for the USN, nor the USN building ships for as cheap as they can. I only mentioned how StanFlex saves them money when it comes to arming their vessels. Please stop trying to put words into my mouth.

            Now, we’re talking numbers. It’s taking four ships to do the job of one, and not as effectively. A multi-role frigate provides more resources for a battlegroup to use; LAMPS, SMs, torpedoes, and sonar. A multi-role frigate is more valuable to a battlegroup and can also protect convoys. An LCS can’t do that. Also, more ships creates increased demands on the fleet like fuel and maintenance. The more ships you forward deploy, the more your costs increase.

            You’re talking about one frigate like it’d be by itself, whereas it would operate in a battlegroup during a conflict. As it stands, the LCS can defend only itself against missile threats and can launch a helicopter. I see little value for a battlegroup with those capabilities. Also, if the ship isn’t configured for the needed role during an emergency … then what use will it be?

            Since you mentioned cost, how much do you think the LCS frigate is going to be? I can tell you right now you won’t be getting one for under $500M. SecDef wants to reduce the order to 40 ships and one design in order to pay for the up-gunned LCS/FF. Now, you’re getting a ship that’s still inferior to a multi-role frigate, for maybe half the cost, after much delay, and on a hull that was never designed for that role.

            One last thing, the Navy even acknowledges that the LCS has no place in the fleet. They’ve called for all LCS’s built before the frigate version to be upgraded to as close to the frigate version as possible How are you still defending a ship even the Navy says needs help?

            EDIT: Thinking back, the Iver is a little heavy for a frigate at 6000 tons. I do like it’s capabilities, especially when looking back at the OHPs.

    • El_Sid

      Stanflex is one of those things that sounds great in principle, and then once you look closer they start to look like a solution looking for a problem. There’s a reason why noone else has gone for that kind of “quick change” module. In practice even the Danes tend to single-role their ships – modules might get changed over during refits but not as a day-to-day thing. As LCS found out, once you get to a reasonably complicated bit of kit, the issue is more the people than the hardware, and there’s just not the real day-to-day need for instant swaps.

      24-hour swapability is a bit of a luxury, what’s important is the ability to easily upgrade in refits – an area in which the Perrys were particularly deficient because of compromises made in their design. Hence why the USN just junked most of theirs, some when 15 years old or less, and why the Aussies really, really struggled to upgrade theirs. In any case, the world is moving towards more modular construction for industrial reasons. Sure, kit was transfered over from the Flyevisken – but then most of the weapons were moved across from the Type 22’s to Type 45 and various auxiliaries, including the Harpoon launchers, and much of the Type 23 kit will get reused on T26.

      The most important modular systems are the hangar, the helicopter, the VLS tube and a “mission bay” for UxV’s, RIBS, towed arrays and the like.

      • Secundius

        BOTH the Freedom and Independence, MAY have to Convert to StanFlex Modules SIMPLY because of Spacing Issues. At Least the “Indy” has an Inter-Deck Elevator to Maneuver the Modules. As it is BOTH TEV (Twenty-foot Equivalent) and FEV (Forty-foot Equivalent) Modules. Are Simply to Big to Maneuver Safely While On Ship, ALSO Slowing “Turn Around” Times…

  • p51dman

    Sam Lagrone, what seems to be the problem? If YOU, deem a statement “problematic”, with the magic of a mouse and a click, you strip a person of their ability to exercise their first amendment right. Very professional. (sarcasm). My comment was up voted on the “USS Nitze harassment” article, I investigated to see how the conversation was progressing and you delete a comment that was in support of our sailors? Whose side are you on?

  • Jffourquet

    just another reason to terminate the LCS program.

    • John Locke

      Right cause no other classes of ships have engineering failures.

  • DaSaint

    Is it me, or is it obvious that the bigger problem is the Freedom class? Say all you want to say about the benfits of steel, but that additional peace of mind does you no good if you have to remain dockside.

    The Independence class solved it’s corrosion problems, has much better diesel engines than the Freedom’s Colt-Pielstick, and has much more internal volume for flexibility, not to mention the larger flight deck.

    Had this been a fighter competition, we would have easily selected it by now, as the other would have had trouble maintaining flight status!

  • Lazarus

    The Avenger class MCM’s went through a similar problem set in the early and mid 1990’s. Many crew members were not used to working with diesel engines made of non-ferrous material. These engines required more specified care than the run of the mil fleet diesel. In addition, the rotational crew concept has funneled large numbers of crews through the ships in a short period of time. Overall, day to day engineering knowledge is probably not yet to the level of needed strength. As more LCS enter service and more crews get trained, these problems will go away. SURFPAC’s empahsis on more training is the right course of action.

    • RADMIL

      I was a civilian contracting officer with the Naval Regional Contracting Center – Naples from 91-97. I worked on two of the MCMs (Sentry and I cant remember the other) in Lisbon and less than a month later another one had a the same problems. We had to rebuild the SSDG’s in both cases

      • Lazarus

        A lot of those issues were training-related with ship’s force just not knowledgeable on ship systems.

  • Curtis Conway

    Consistent team effort by a homogeneous crew that owns the equipment, and is dedicated to its care and maintenance, is so obvious that it belies analysis of how the US Navy has bought into a manning rotation system to the point that they ignore human nature. All services have eons of experience telling us that placing an individual in charge of, and responsible for, a specific piece of equipment makes a difference. It is called ownership in the process. As it is, these LCS crews can just pass on the problem to the next rotation.

    The Preventative Maintenance Schedule (PMS) schedule exercised with discipline is supposed to prevent (Pro-activity) these types of maintenance problems. I see a failure of leadership here, or the system simply cannot be mastered. How many examples of operations & maintenance problems (e.g., money spent fixing) before the Navy wakes up, and a normal crew rotation is established. I can almost understand Blue & Gold (it works in the subs), but to further convolute that system with the three crew rotation demonstrates in a practical way that the US Navy has decided that human beings are interchangeable machines and will perform accordingly, which of course is fiction.

    I am not a fan of diesel engines. Gas turbines have a greater power density (more power per unit space and weight occupied), fewer parts, and today with modern turbine technology, require less maintenance less often, than diesels. The repair parts list alone is daunting with the plethora of parts, space & weight those spare parts represent, and the personnel required to support all this activity, just to operate and maintain the diesel engine aboard ship. The most damning thing about diesels is they do not provide 100% power available upon start-up. They must warm up, as opposed to gas turbine engines with 100% power available in about 90 seconds. Remember these are combat vessels, and the ability to survive a surprise under emergency circumstances is the name of the game, so why start the game with a deficit.

    The Diesel Lobby has even made inroads on the future of the M1A Abrams Main Battle Tank, with attempts to install a diesel in the M1A3 that adds weight, increases noise (no more “Wispering Death”), and reduces the ability to carry the required armor protection in the modern battle space without making the tank significantly heavier. All you read these days it ‘it takes 10 gallons of fuel to start the Honeywell AGT1500C 1,500 shp (1,120 kW) multi-fuel turbine engine’. The disappointment is the US Army went through an engine upgrade, but did not make significant increases in capability in that upgrade commensurate with a comparison to a GE F404 vs. GE F414 improvement. I can’t even find references to Full Authority Digital Electronic (engine) Control (FADEC) was installed, and if so, why it has not been modified to improve this starting performance. It could almost be construed that the modifications are driven by service defined requirements provided by the vendor making the sale.

    The National Security Cutter (NSC) configured as a National Patrol Frigate has a larger price tag, but is more reliable, available, and can maintain a presence for an extended period of time with its crew of 140 personnel. At least it is survivable in the traditional interpretation of NAVY REGs (watertight integrity & compartmentalization), and it can also go to the Arctic, steam more days without refueling, and if appropriately equipped (Mk 29 MFCS Mod 4 w/ESSMs), actually defend itself.
    The LCS can have a future in the US Navy . . . but you have to put a CREW on it. It’s called SHIPMATES, and they rotate on/off in a couple a years . . . not a couple of months!

    • Lazarus

      The Navy has too few ships to perform the missions ordered by the civilian govt. Multiple crews are the only we the USN can keep larger numbers of small ships forward deployed. Saying “we can’t do this” is just not an option for the surface navy. The sub folks have done multiple crews for years. Overall crew performance and training for LCS needs a “round turn” to be sure, but will improve as more LCS crews are trained and deployed.

      • Curtis Conway

        As I stated in my comment, I can buy “Blue & Gold Crews”. At least they come back and have to own their own mistakes, if they left it, and the other bunch couldn’t fix it either. The three crew rotation to disparate platforms is a bunch of horse bunk. It’s a total disregard for the function of human nature, given the talent pool, and societal norms that are out there at present. Those folks who think our service members are like Star Fleet engineers who can make rocks into computers have lost it in my humble opinion.

        • Bull Jones

          I agree as an old boomer. There was a competitive attitude as to how the boat was kept up. Granted, the yards and circumstances could wreck it all in a flash, but we owned that boat.

        • Lazarus

          The ships may yet go to just two crews.

          • tpharwell

            Laz, I thought that was already settled. How many times do I have to read a Navy statement in order to believe it ?

    • Your first and last paragraph are so obvious to anyone who has had any sea time at all that they are beyond tautology. This is yet another LCS CF that will be entered in the Master CF Log that historians will read when they inquire about what lead to the demise of a once great civilization. This distresses me, but I do not weep for those who have purposefully chosen suicide.

  • RADMIL

    I never knew about this publication, USNI. I retired from the DOD in Sept 2013 with over 41 yrs, 3 1/2 Active Army and 38 yrs with the navy and marine corps at various location throughout the world mostly as a contract specialist/Contracting Officer. Finding this pub is like coming home LOL

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      it is a nice website. but some of the people who visit the site, get off issue and into politics and nasty chat. The Author has had to close threads from time to time.

  • tpharwell

    Let me see if I get this straight.

    So SURFPAC needlessly hazarded one of its ships which had suffered a critical mechanical failure, resulting in the need to shut down its diesel main engines, by nevertheless sending it out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to participate in an international naval exercise, rather than endure the embarrassment of having it be a “no-show” ? And when it is finally allowed to return to port, it is left to inspectors from a different command to discover that the resultant damage is more extensive than first suspected – or admitted – and requires that the engine must be removed from the ship ??

    And so SURFPAC then announces that it will launch an investigation in to how this happened ??
    Will someone please repeat the procedure for removing a 15 yard long diesel engine from the bottom deck of a 120 yard long power boat ? And by the way, where now is USS Milwaukee ?

    • Lazarus

      Fixed and getting ready for shock trials off Florida

      • tpharwell

        Can you cite me to a public source for this information ?

        • Horn

          The USS Milwaukee is repaired. I thought it was doing high speed trials, though. Just use Google, it’s much faster than waiting hours for a reply.

  • Refguy

    Diesel engines and liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers aren’t new. Submarines, WW II surface combatants ( including pocket battleships ) and auxiliaries, tugs and merchant vessels since before WW II, every cruise ship, sport fishermen, and almost all pleasure boats larger the 45 feet use them. How can you foul this up?

  • Western

    I bet their multiple-gender bathrooms function flawlessly.

  • John Townsend

    I have followed both the News and the Proceedings on LCS since its inception. As a former Program Manager and Acquisition Research Manager, it stinks of failures in acquisition oversight. In addition to recurrent engineering casualties, which should be rare even in the first of class, there are the gross cost overruns. It shows an incompetent attention to detail in the Navy-Industry team. Inexcusable.

    • Lazarus

      Which program(s) did you oversea? Recurrent engineering casualties were an issue with the MCM’s and MHC classes. First of the class ships are always troublesome. TICO and BURKE both had their share of teething issues. Name one class with a “first in class” success rate?

      • John Townsend

        I PM’s a variety of C4ISR programs over my career.
        USS NAUTILUS SSN 571

    • John B. Morgen

      Where’s the QA team, from start to finish?

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    When I was in the process of earning the ESWS back when it first came out before the engineering qualifications were dumb down. I remember learning the ins and outs of the Lube Oil system on an LPD Austin class. I had to be able to draw a diagram of the system and explain it in detail. I also (when I was there how to draw a daily Sample and were to take then for testing. KIS Now having server on 4 different ships. Back in the 80’s there was a manpower study that new Sailor reporting to there first ship usually takes and average of 18 months to be Proficient in there trade. An experience Sailor usually took between 1 to 3 months to proficient on all the equipment in their department

  • Lazarus

    Why are you so rude and disrespectful to others?

    • U did it me before and I’m only returning fire

  • Ctrot

    Did no one tell the Navy that LCS would be operating near sea water?

  • There isn’t an auxiliaryman wearing dolphins that would ever
    let this s..t happen to his diesel (at least not in the Navy the way I remember
    it).

  • John B. Morgen

    Cancel the program and then transfer the remaining funding over to the Arleigh Burke DDG program. The engineering system of the LCS should have been designed to run on gas turbines only, and without water jets; .instead of standard shafts and propellers. There’s too many mixed engineering systems involved which are causing the problems, among with a weak propellant system: stick with drive shafts..

    • Stephen

      Absolutely true! The overly complex propulsion system would be the first casualty, quickly followed by the sinking of an LCS in shallow water. The most effective littoral fighting vessel is forward deployed in the Persian Gulf. Building 20 more Patrol Gunboats makes more sense than one more LCS…

      • Secundius

        Problem is? It’s NOT Going to Happen…

      • John B. Morgen

        Another point, the Arleigh Burke DDGs are much better designed, and better armed than the the two LCS classes put together. A class warship that can take on any Russian or Chinese warship…..

        • Secundius

          If BOTH the Freedom/Independence class LCS’s with Conceived and Designed During the Obama Administration. Congress Would Have KILLED Both in a “New York Minute”, but Considering BOTH were Conceived and Designed by the Bush 2 Administration. Their NEVER Going to KILL the Project. Limited the Production Maybe, but to Actually KILL it “NWIH”…

          • John B. Morgen

            Maybe the next Congress might cancel the LCS program.

          • Secundius

            Just Like the Gerald R. Ford class, or the F-35? Don’t Hold Your Breath…

  • Mike

    The “ships” are living up to their moniker of Little Crappy Ships.

    • Ed L

      A decade has passed and these are a joke. They need tender support to forward deploy. but someone forgot that and scrapped the Tenders.

  • Secundius

    Maybe the US Navy should consider using a Pump-Jet or Reciprocating Water-Jet Instead…

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      or and electric pod configuration like on Cunard’s Queens

      • Secundius

        “Azipod” or “Mermaid”. The Reason to the Waterjet is to Get AS Close to the Beach AS Possible without Beaching Yourself, Screws Just Get In the Way…

        • disqus_zommBwspv9

          Navy Ship are not authorized to run around. Cause of relief of CO. Navigator, and anyone else envolved Or a court martial. Close to the beach means don’t run aground. With exceptions during Wartime. like the destroyers on June 6, 1944

          • Secundius

            The Range of A Fragmentation Round of a 57mm Bofors is ~14,000-meters and HE ~9,700-Meters…

          • Ed L

            interesting. does the gun really work?

          • Secundius

            First Use of the 57mm Bofors was in 1966. Which was Patterned after the British Ordnance QF-6-Pounder 7-cwt. A favored American Anti-Tank Gun by Airborne Units. Had a Sustained Rate of Fire of 55rpm with an Molins Autoloader Mk. III and with a 24-Ready Round Magazine. Was Credited with the First German Tiger I Panzer KILL of WW2 in 1943 in North Africa…

          • Ed L

            Gun design in 1966 kill a German tank in 1943?

          • Secundius

            Swedish Bofors 57x438mmR/70-caliber was Patterned after British Ordnance QF 6-pdr. 7-cwt. 57x441mmR/50-caliber Design. Not an Exact Copy. Like 7.7x58mmR (7.89×57.66) Arisaka was Patterned after Vickers Mk.I Machine Gun Round. Or the .303 British 7.7×56 (7.92×56.44mmR) ALSO Not a Exact Copy…

  • publius_maximus_III

    With ships like this around, not much time left to concentrate on defending against those who would intentionally do us harm. We’re keeping ourselves fully occupied.

    • Secundius

      Around Where? Three Are Commissioned, Three Are Being Fitted Out, and Three are STILL Under Construction…

  • omegatalon

    Design flaw or simply a case of sailors being clueless on how to maintain the ship properly.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    Talk about a “Gift That Keeps On Giving!”

  • John B. Morgen

    My late-grand father, a Marine Engineer for the Royal Canadian Navy would have shaken his head or rolled back his eyes in disbelief about the engineering systems for the LCS program.

    • Secundius

      I would THINK the Same Application would Hold True in Explaining the Operation of a Rail Gun or Laser to a Ordnance Engineer of Artillery of that Era too…

      • John B. Morgen

        I agree. My grand-father was the Superintendent of the RCN dockyards at the Esquimalt naval base. He was profoundly involved with many naval engineering projects that are still marked [Top Secret] by the Canadian government. He wouldn’t have any problems of resolving the LCS engineering problems—he was a Naval Master of his trade. In fact, he forbidden to go out to sea for combat during both World War II and also the Korean War. There were only two people had his background; himself and another naval engineer on the East Coast of Canada. My mom said to me that my grand-father loved to be inside the engine rooms when he took out the RCN warships for their trial runs, after being refitted or repaired. I have his working cap that he worn during those sea trials.

        • Secundius

          Did he “Squirrel Away” ANY Plans to Show HIS Children or Grandchildren as to the “Importance” of his Position in the Royal Canadian Navy…

          • John B. Morgen

            As far as I know, no he did not to best of my knowledge; however, my uncle has photographs for every RCN warship that my grand-father took out on sea trials. I have been trying to get my uncle to make copies of those photographs, but there has not been any movement about the issue.

          • Secundius

            I would think the Local Historical Society/Foundation Would Be Interested, as a Unique Prospective From those That Actually Built and Maintained Them would be Interested…

          • John B. Morgen

            I agree but it is up to my uncle, which I have no idea what he has planned to do with those photographs. However, I do know that there’s two naval/maritime museums nearby where he lives.

  • Mark Stefanik

    Frankly I’m saddened to see many of the predictable comments following this casualty, most of which are slinging arrows at the LCS community with only minor understanding of what has occurred. As the CO of an INDEPENDENCE variant, as well as a former CO of one of our rotational MCM Crews, there seems to be a lack of understanding that a) there are two variants of LCS, and the Austal-built “2” Variant has not had the engineering issues that the “1” Variant has and 2) this casualty is not due to rotational crewing. So the comments disparaging “LCS” are at least 50% inaccurate.
    Rotational crewing is not some new-fangled design which will weaken the Navy. The MCMs and PCs have done it for years. Boomers have had great success as well. Ownership and crew rotation are not mutually exclusive, it’s a challenge for the leadership to address and correct, but fully within our ability.
    Furthermore, anyone who has been in the Navy more than a week knows that machinery breaks, and it’s the response to those casualties that defines a crew. Sometimes things go wrong, and sometimes people make mistakes. None of that should reflect on the overall program, unless we are willing to discuss the MRG issues on the DDGs, the superstructure cracks on the CGs, and a variety of other class problems that come with building complex systems which face an unpredictable environment.
    I understand that there is a lot of experience on this board, however that experience seems to be mixed with a lack of trust, or even outright distrust of non-traditional practices. Moreover, there is a lot of pure speculation – the investigation is underway and the who/what/when/why will be revealed. Until then, guessing doesn’t help. Even those of relatively “in the know” should hold off until all of the fact are known.
    LCS, and the LCS program, has tremendous potential. In fact, both FREEDOM and FORT WORTH spent over a year on deployment. CORONADO is heading out now – all of which buys us more presence on station. Comments like “Little Crappy Ships” are frankly beneath this board and the experience it represents.
    Hope this helps.

    • John Locke

      You may have spoken too soon……..

      Regardless, I think a lot of the frustration comes from the obvious welfare nature of the LCS program and the logistical hairball that has evolved from two different hulls, floating many systems uncommon to each other while tasked with the same missions. The LCS program is the poster child for ADM Gortney’s Configuration Variance Reduction letter from 2013. It just makes for an easy target, no pun intended.

      • Mark Stefanik

        Yes, saw that as well, though the description of the casualty for CORONADO made no sense to me, unless it was static electricity. I’m not sure what is meant by the “welfare nature”, however I agree that down-selecting may be a good idea, or separating them into independent classes. To be fair, the commonality of the two platforms is coming, as the tactical software was down-selected already. Regardless, as I read the article on COR, I have no idea what the author is getting at. The description of the casualty does not match the engineering plant.

    • Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo

      “Comments like “Little Crappy Ships” are frankly beneath this board”

      Indeed you may not like it Mark, however ponder for a nanosecond those outside the naval community.
      The ones who have work their lives in order to pay for these “warships”.

      The plebs are probably not fans of paying the 20-odd billion building and maintaining these vessels that appear allergic to sea water.
      Some might have the temerity to wonder as to what that kind of money could do for their roads, schools & communities.

      Go easy on the little people, they just don’t realize their money is better given to Lockheed & Austal.

  • John Wertenbach

    It doesn’t matter what type of ship…if you have unmanned engineering spaces with no more than a operator watching to see if a light comes on informing them of a problem,it already to late to avert any type of damage.Spaces must have a highly trained watch standers to avoid these casualties.