The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting this morning that the Littoral Combat Ship Freedom, for the second time in the past six months, is having engine problems that will result in completely replacing the unit:
"High vibration indications were discovered in the starboard-side gas turbine engine while the ship was operating off Southern California," said Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for Naval Surface Forces, San Diego.
"A borescope was done and damage was found to the engine's blading. The engine will be replaced during a scheduled (servicing) visit to Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme," which starts on Sept. 27.
Freedom has a second gas turbine. But the ship switched to its two diesel engines when the problem arose offshore on Sept. 12. In early May, the vessel had to pull into General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in San Diego for repairs when issues developed with a waterjet, which is part of the ship's propulsion system.
The first-of-its-kind ship -- built by Lockheed Martin -- has had its share of teething problems as the Navy considers whether to buy Lockheed's version or a competing one being manufactured by Austal USA. As Inside the Navy reported in May:
The Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship, the Freedom (LCS-1), dry-docked in a San Diego shipyard late last week awaiting repairs to a starboard boost water jet, according to Naval Surface Forces.
"Freedom requires a short dry-dock period of three to five days to repair the starboard-boost water jet," Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, a service spokesman, told Inside the Navy May 4. "LCS-1 water jets have been reliable since the ship launched more than three and a half years ago and we did not have any mission limiting problems on deployment."
Freedom recently returned from its maiden deployment to the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean before arriving at its home port in San Diego last month.
"Original equipment manufacturer, Rolls/Kamewa, is expediting the shipment of a replacement seal," Servello noted. "The ship is expected to dock at NASSCO San Diego on May 8. Rolls/Kamewa indicates that seal failure is rare, but does occasionally occur within the maintenance interval."
The following month, another wrinkle popped up:
The Lockheed Martin-built Freedom (LCS-1) the Navy's lead ship in the nascent Littoral Combat Ship class will not make a previously scheduled appearance at an international fleet review due to leaks discovered recently in the port and starboard splitter gear lube oil coolers, a Navy spokesman said last week.
"Due to emergent maintenance, over the last two weeks the decision was made to not have Freedom attend the International Fleet Review in Vancouver, Canada, in order to ensure the ship is fully prepared to participate in the upcoming [Rim of the Pacific] exercise," Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello told Inside the Navy.
The leaks and crack and structural damage in the ship's centerline fuel tanks were discovered recently and fixed over the weekend (June 5-6), Servello noted. The repairs were made pierside.
"Prime contractor Lockheed Martin and subcontractors were able to successfully troubleshoot the problem and make the needed repairs," he said. "Additionally, cracks and minor structural damage was discovered in one of the centerline fuel tanks. Repair and post-repair inspections on the tank were completed over the weekend."