On August 29, the USS Coronado, a Littoral Combat Ship built by Austal in Mobile, broke down after experiencing engineering problems four days into a voyage from Hawaii to the Western Pacific. The ship is returning to Pearl Harbor under its own power to undergo repairs, according to a U.S. Navy spokesperson.
“The Littoral Combat Ship Coronado experienced an engineering casualty August 29 while transiting to the Western Pacific,” said Cmdr. Ryan Perry. “The crew took precautionary measures and the ship is currently returning to Pearl Harbor to determine the extent of the problem and conduct repairs.”
The ship, an Independence-class trimaran, was two months into its maiden deployment after being launched in Jan. 2012 and commissioned into the U.S. Navy in April 2014. She is being escorted back to port by the replenishment oil tanker Henry J. Kaiser.
Perry added that the “extent of the repairs and any operational impact is unknown at this time” and that an “assessment of the casualty will be completed upon return to Pearl Harbor.”
The engine failure will be a blow to Austal’s entire Littoral Combat Ship and Expeditionary Fast Transport (EFP) program, which has been under fire from Congressional detractors who see the $4 billion project as expensive and unnecessary.
In February, Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) cosigned a letter by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, that LCS “seaframe failures and system reliability shortfalls” couldn’t defeat anything more than “a small number of lightly armed boats.”
Austal’s misery was compounded over the weekend after it blamed the Australian-based company’s poor annual performance on its operation in Mobile, specifically because of a $115 million write-off due to design changes on the ships.
News of the Coronado’s engine failure also comes just days after it was announced that the USS Freedom, an LCS ship built in Wisconsin by Lockheed Martin, was to undergo either a full engine rebuild or total replacement after severe flooding. It’s the third Lockheed-built LCS ship to suffer engine problems in the last 12 months.
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Source: Alabama Local News