On Sept 10th, the brand new LCS Montgomery (LCS 8) was commissioned with great fanfare; thousands were in attendance. Three days later, the ship was all but dead in the water, leaving more than a few senior Naval officials scratching their heads and wondering what was going on here. The Navy has a problem with the LCS ships in its inventory, and that problem seems to be growing larger by the week.
The ship conducted its sea trials in May, and passed in areas of propulsion plant, ship handling, and auxiliary systems. Even so, the new littoral combat ship (LCS), encountered two significant, yet unrelated, engine problems three days out of Mobile, Alabama. The damage was enough that it had to end its trip to San Diego (its homeport) and head for Florida for undisclosed repairs.
Navy reports say that the damage included a seawater leak in its hydraulic cooling system. Later that same day, there were problems with one of its gas turbine engines. The extent of the damage, and what caused it, has not been reported.
What has senior officials scratching their collective heads is that the USS Montgomery is not the first to encounter engine problems. In fact, it is the third LCS in the last three weeks to suffer significant engine problems. Making matters worse, it is the fifth LCS within a 12-month span to need major repairs.
The Navy has not been idle in this. They have already put out major changes and a host of reviews on the LCS program. Just one day after the Aug. 30 breakdown of another Independence-class LCS, the Coronado, Naval Surface Force Commander Vice Adm. Tom Rowden announced mandatory training for engine and engineering crews, a stand down to review procedures and standards, and an additional review to be conducted by the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer’s School that is to finished by the end of October.
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