This story has been updated with additional information from the Navy. An earlier version of this post indicated the casualty occurred on Sept. 15 when it in fact occurred on Sept. 13.
THE PENTAGON — Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8) suffered two unrelated engineering casualties during a transit in the Gulf of Mexico and is heading to Florida for repairs, the Navy told USNI News on Friday.
On Sept. 13, Independence-class ship was bound for the Panama Canal when Montgomery suffered two engineering failures. Now the ship is headed to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba under its own power but under propulsion restrictions before returning to Naval Station Mayport, Fla. for repairs, Naval Surface Forces confirmed to USNI News.
“The first casualty happened when the crew detected a seawater leak in the hydraulic cooling system. Later that day, Montgomery experienced a casualty to one of its gas turbine engines,” read a late Friday statement.
“The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows these ships to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, with the two casualties resulting in the loss of both port shafts, it was determined that the best course of action would be to send the ship to Mayport to conduct both repairs.”
The ship is equipped with two General Electric LM-2500 maritime gas turbine engines — a mainstay in the service’s Arleigh Burke destroyer fleet (DDG-51).
Montgomery’s casualty — only days after the ship was commissioned — is the latest in a string of engineering failures in both classes of LCS this year. In late August, Independence-class LCS USS Coronado (LCS-4) suffered a casualty in route from Pearl Harbor to Singapore for a planned deployment. Days earlier, the Navy confirmed USS Freedom (LCS-2) would have to have a main propulsion diesel engine replaced after sea water flooded the lube oil system. In January, operator error caused a complex gearing system in Freedom-class LCS USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) to suffer extensive damage which resulted in the removal of the ship’s commander. The year before a software problem in USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) caused a similar casualty in its gearing system.
The latest casualty comes a week after the Navy, under direction of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, revealed the results of a new study that changed some of the fundamental manning, training and equipping concepts for both LCS classes.
The casualty also comes after the Navy conducted an “engineering stand down” in which U.S. Naval Surface Forces (NAVSURFOR) “for every [Littoral Combat Ship] crew to review procedures and standards for their engineering departments,” NAVSURFOR said earlier this month.
Following the stand down the Surface Warfare Office School was asked to review, “the wholeness of our LCS engineering education and training to include the testing and retraining of all LCS engineers,” NAVSURFOR commander, Vice Adm. Tom Rowden said in a statement at the time.
The following is the complete Sept. 16, 2016 statement from the Naval Surface Forces
USS Montgomery headed to Mayport for Repairs
Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific
On Sept. 13, 2016, the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) experienced two unrelated casualties within a 24-hour period while transiting from Mobile, Alabama to her homeport of San Diego, Calif.
The ship will conduct a brief stop for fuel at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and will then sail to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., under its own power to conduct warranty repairs.
The first casualty happened when the crew detected a seawater leak in the hydraulic cooling system. Later that day, Montgomery experienced a casualty to one of its gas turbine engines.
The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows these ships to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, with the two casualties resulting in the loss of both port shafts, it was determined that the best course of action would be to send the ship to Mayport to conduct both repairs.
Montgomery will arrive in Mayport next week, conduct repairs, and continue her transit to San Diego