USS Forth Worth heads home after breakdown in Singapore

USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) departs Changi Naval Base for San Diego, California. Photo: US Navy
USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) departs Changi Naval Base for San Diego, California. Photo: US Navy

Things turned out to be better than expected for U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) which suffered damage to propulsion gears in Singapore eight months ago. The ship departed Singapore’s Changi Naval Base on August 22, using both main propulsion diesel engines for a transit across the Pacific Ocean to her homeport in San Diego.

The U.S. Navy said damage to the ship’s combining gears was less extensive than initial investigations suggested. A full assessment revealed that only three bearings needed to be replaced, and the repairs took less time and cost less than originally expected.

Initial estimates suggested the ship would use its gas turbine engines for the transit which was expected to take about six weeks with several underway replenishments and planned fueling stops along the way.

To remind, Fort Worth experienced an engineering casualty to the ship’s combining gears in January after what was termed by the Navy as failure to follow procedures during an operational test of the port and starboard main propulsion diesel engines.

This failure to follow procedures lead the U.S. Navy to relieve the commander of the LCS Crew 101 on March 28.

Prior to Fort Worth’s departure from Singapore, “Iron Warriors” of LCS Crew 111 successfully completed a damage control material assessment (DCMA), light-off assessment (LOA), type commander material inspection and sea trials. The assessments were necessary to validate that the ship and crew were ready to return to a fully operational status following the repair to the combining gear casualty that occurred in January.

“I’m very proud of the entire team and our efforts over the past few months as we have worked to get Fort Worth back on line,” said Cdr. Michael Brasseur, commanding officer, USS Fort Worth. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but our team has performed beyond expectations and we are excited to get this ship back to sea and ultimately return home to San Diego.”

According to the U.S. Navy, the USS Fort Worth was a model of reliability for more than a year while deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet prior to the casualty. During the first 14 months of her deployment, Fort Worth participated in the search and recovery efforts for AirAsia flight QZ8501, made 12 port visits and participated in 10 bilateral and multilateral exercises across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

USS Coronado (LCS 4) is slated to replace Fort Worth as the rotationally deployed LCS in Singapore and is currently in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii preparing to transit to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations after participating in the recent Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational exercise there.