Misery Loves Company: Second Newest US Navy Ship Breaks Down in One Month

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This US Navy handout photo released January 8, 2015 shows the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) as it operates on January 7

The US Fort Worth littoral combat ship (LCS 3) is sidelined in port in Singapore due to damage to gears that propel the ship.

The ship was built by Lockheed Martin Corp. It had damage to combining gears that let the ship run on a mix of diesel and gas turbine engines,Bloomberg reported citing a memo from the service.”There is no estimated date of completion” to the repair works, it added.

According to the initial indications, the gear damage “appears to be caused by a failure to follow established procedures during maintenance.” The incident took place on January 12 when the ship was in Singapore.

It will remain in Singapore while it undergoes “a series of inspections to determine the extent of necessary repairs,” Lieutenant Commander Matt Knight, a spokesman for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

The USS Fort Worth is on a 16-month deployment to Asia, as part of Obama administration’s strategy of rebalance in Asia. The Navy plans to have four littoral ships permanently deployed in Singapore.

The latest incident is a setback for a vessel whose critics say is unreliable and not survival in combat, the article read. The last two defense secretaries have highlighted the flaws of the ship. Last month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered to reduce the program to 40 vessels, from the initial 52. The incident is the second in little more than a month involving vessels which cost on average about $440 million each, according to the Congressional Research Service.

On December 11, The US Navy combat ship Milwaukee broke down in the open sea while transiting from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida, and ultimately its home port of San Diego. The ship sustained a failure in its propulsion plant.

According to the memo, the two incidents were not related

The US’ Milwaukee littoral combat ship commissioned in November broke down in the open sea and had to be towed to a naval base, Navy Times reported.

Littoral combat ships

The US Navy combat ship Milwaukee broke down in the open sea on December 11, while transiting from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida, and ultimately its home port of San Diego.According to the article, the ship was commissioned 20 days ago, on November 21.

The vessel was towed to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia. Currently, the crew and technical consultants are evaluating the cause.

Initial indications are that fine metal debris collected in the lube oil filter caused the system to shut down, according to a Navy statement provided to Navy Times. The cause of metal debris in the oil system is not known and assessments are ongoing.

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Problems with the propulsion plant began as soon as the ship set sail from Halifax, the article read. The ship’s computer system triggered an alarm.Engineers cleaned out the metal filings from the lube oil filter, but when the ship was conducting steering tests it lost pressure in the starboard combining gear due to the presence of the same metal filings in that filter.

The incident has already been reported to the authorities. Senator John McCain described it as “deeply alarming”.

“I expect the Navy to conduct a thorough investigation into the root causes of this failure, hold individuals accountable as appropriate, and keep the Senate Armed Services Committee informed,” he was quoted as saying by Navy Times.

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