Saturday, May 4, 2013

LCS-1 Sidelined Again

USS Freedom, LCS-1, has been sidelined again at the start of her Singapore public relations tour naval mission.  You'll recall that the ship lost power three times during the voyage to Guam.  The latest problem is seawater in a lube oil system.  Now I have no particular comment to make about the problem itself.  Ships have breakdowns all the time and seawater in lube oil has happened to plenty of other ships.  What caught my attention is that this relatively simple repair has required the ship to call for assistance from Commander, Surface Naval Forces, Pacific and maintenance personnel are being flown in from NAVSEA.

For any other ship, this repair would be handled by the ship's crew and would hardly rate a notice.  The LCS, however, has been designed without the ability to perform repairs and with the expectation that most maintenance and repairs would be performed by a shore-based support group.  That concept is being put to the test now.  Freedom is deployed on the other side of the world, far away from support personnel and facilities as witnessed by the need to fly in maintenance personnel from NAVSEA and call for help from higher authority.  I'm glad this breakdown occurred.  It will give all involved the opportunity to thoroughly exercise the LCS maintenance and support system.  Will it work as envisioned?  We'll see.  I hope the Freedom suffers more breakdowns so that we can thoroughly evaluate the concept.  Knowing the LCS, I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities to exercise the system.

At first glance, having to fly in maintenance personnel for a simple lube oil problem doesn't strike me as an efficient system but I'll wait and see how it all plays out before passing final judgement.  The only nagging question I have is what if we were at war and Freedom needed this repair?  She's a mission kill until support personnel can arrive.  If they had to make their way through a war zone to get to Freedom or if there were higher repair priorities, the LCS would, potentially, be a write-off due to a simple problem.

I really, REALLY don't think the Navy gamed this all out before committing to the LCS.

2 comments:

  1. So we have to bring back the Destroyer Tenders, or should we call them LCS Tenders.

    Or maybe the first modules they should create for the LCS are the Repair Modules

    ReplyDelete
  2. If this keeps up, maybe it's time the US Navy needs to take a look at the US Coast Guard's National security cutter and make modifications as a Patrol frigate in the same line as Frances Floréal-class frigate & La Fayette-class frigate. The LCS is the gift that keeps on giving and is spiting out so many problems that I may need a wiki/cliff notes to keep up with all the LCS problems.

    ReplyDelete