Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LCS Breaks Down Again!

I know, you think you're reading a repeat of earlier posts but I kid you not, USS Freedom, LCS-1, has broken down again due to another lube oil failure, this time from sediment in the oil.  The Navy Times website reported the story today.  USS Drydock Freedom is giving the off-board maintenance concept a real work out, at least.  As you recall, Freedom lost power three times on the way to Guam and twice, now, in Singapore.  Quite a cruise, so far!

6 comments:

  1. The LCS is fast becoming a pier side queen. The LCS just keeps on giving more than ever bad news than ever.

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    1. I often surprised at how main times I have to remind people here that USS Freedom, USS Independence, USS Fort Worth, and PCU Coronado are experimental prototypes. They are entended to test not only they own design, but the new Naval vessel Rule, the LCS concept, and modular system designs. With so many test happening on these ship, there can not help be have numerious failures. In fact, I believe that it the primary mission of all four lead ships is to breakdown, to point out problems in the current designs.

      Some of you read about the Spainish submarine problems. Their failure was not because of a mis-calculation, but because the people designing them had never had experince designing submarines. A simular thing is true of the LCS, because there has never been ships like the LCS before. Still after the prototypes have been built, tested and deployed, that problem will not exist any longer, as they, the prototypes would of successfully proformed their main duty.

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    2. But the problem is that these experimental ships are not just one off designs, they are the basis of a major part of the US Navy's shipbuilding plans. Before they even got done testing them they ordered more.

      The whole problem with the LCS was that it was a top down driven program to transform the Navy and replace several classes of ship put into production without waiting for feedback on whether any of the programs ideas actually worked.

      We don't know if the module system will work
      We don't know if the small crew size will work
      We don't know if the high speed is worth the cost
      We don't know if outside maintenance can keep these ships operating.
      We don’t know if either design is a good design

      They did not bother to do any preliminary small scale testing on any of this prior to building the prototypes and they ordered more ships before they finished testing the prototypes.

      What they should have done is

      Since the ships were based around modules they should have gotten these modules working at least to prototype stage before building the ships since then they would know if they would work and how large, how heavy, how many personnel it needed, how much power it needed and what other equipment was needed to operate them.

      Since they wanted small crew size they should have tested various size crews to see how they worked out and how long could they operate the ship at what levels of readiness

      Since they wanted high speed, they needed to justify this better since it so effects these ships performance in other areas

      Outside maintenance requirements would be better understood if they actually waited to see how well the ships worked before building others. And building more ships of both designs is going to increase both the maintenance and training loads for these ships because of the different equipment involved.

      I was a supporter of LCS though I would have preferred to at least have the modules ready in prototype stage before designing and building them. But to build more ships before the prototype ships and their modules were finished testing is just a waste

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    3. GLof, had the Navy built just one LCS and announced that they were going to test it for a few years before possibly entering into a production run based on lessons learned, then I would accord it prototype status and comment accordingly. It's not a prototype, it's a production model. The follow on LCSs are the same with relatively minor changes so either they're all prototypes or they're all production models. Which is it?

      Also, the LCS is hardly anything new. The Navy has been designing ships for hundreds of years. There's nothing radically new about this. Even the high speed aspects and catamaran had been operated by the Navy for a decade or so in the form of Swift and a couple of others. LCS is not new, just crappy.

      Finally, even if I accepted the LCS as a prototype and wanted to cut it some slack, five engineering breakdowns in the first few weeks of deployment is still newsworthy.

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    4. Which is why the LCS is seriously a Joke on the same level as the F-35.

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  2. Frankly, I prefer prototypes that can be developed into something useful over exerimental test units, and if Freedom and the other first LCSs are developed into usable design, so much the better.

    With the early LCSs, being expermental designs, they natural would need much development work before they were ready for production, . And that was happening with the first four LCS, which where purchased one at a time, with long seperation between each of the prototypes. This would have given the designers time to test both design, make changes were required, and perhaps result in one or both designs being development into production versions. At least that was what the plan seem to be.

    The fact that a few high ranking naval officals thought they could short cut the design and development process, is only one more example of poorly trains some of them ( maybe most or all of them )there are about engineering mainagement, not that the Navy does not need so 56 ships of the LCS type. Note I don't make the mistake they did assuming they could select what type would serve the USN need better, before we got to thought with the first development circle.

    I know it appears that the Navy would just pick one out because they "like the color" (a quote from my design process professor, meaning a choice made for irrelevant reasons). In fact they were doing just that when those navy high up thought they could force the cost down price competition between the builds. All that did was boosting the cost of the LCS program by delaying with when final specs could be issue for true product LCSs.

    As a result of there interference, the design was frozen much to early, as you said, so that only minor changes have possible. WE real should be designing the next generation of LCSs. But this happen because of outside force, not what was happening inside the LCS program.


    BTW, you don't real need to wait for all your testing is done before you proceed with work on the next generation. Such waits only serve to increase development cost as you have to pay for the shipyards idol time. It cheaper to start work on the next unit, and pay for the changes require than it is to want for a perfection.

    O by the way, five engineering problem is hardle a hickup when compare to such ships in the past, back then it was not uncommon to lose the whole ship and crew. The idea that you can design, ships, airplanes, or anything without there beening system failures comes for Pentagon bureauracy who claim they can prevent them happening if you allow the to shuff enough paper. It never seem to work out since failures still happen. And of course the bureauracy have to be paid for paid for they valuable sevices.

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