Fourth US Navy littoral combat ship breaks down, personnel partly to blame

Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific Rim of the Pacific 2016 on August 1st. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro)

The littoral combat ship (LCS 4) experienced an engineering casualty while transiting to the Western Pacific on Tuesday.

The USS Coronado is one of four -out of a total of six- littoral combat ships in service to have suffered mechanical failures in the past nine months.

“Last night’s problem is the fourth issue in the last year. Some of these were caused by personnel, and some were due to design and engineering. These issues are all receiving our full and immediate attention, both individually and in the aggregate,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

“I established a program-wide review earlier this summer to incorporate deployment lessons learned and identify systemic problems with how the program was structured,” he said.

Richardson said that all LCS Sailors who work in engineering will be required to retrain and certify -a decision made by  Vice Adm. Rowden.

The Navy did not specify the details of the ship’s problem and only stated that “the crew took precautionary measures.”  The ship is currently returning to Pearl Harbor to determine the extent of the problem and conduct repairs. Coronado is operating under her own power and is being escorted by USNS Henry J. Kaiser.

The casualty appears to be unrelated to recent propulsion problems on USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3).

The extent of repairs and any operational impact is unknown at this time. An assessment of the casualty will be completed upon return to Pearl Harbor, according to a Navy press release.

“The entire leadership team is focused on ensuring our ships are properly designed and built, and that our Sailors have the tools and training they need to safely and effectively operate these ships. These ships bring needed capability to our combatant and theater commanders–we must get these problems fixed now,” said Adm. Richardson.

Coronado departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam late last week to continue its independent deployment to the Western Pacific.

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