US Navy orders LCS crew retraining after fourth ship breaks down
The U.S. Navy has ordered an engineering stand down during which every littoral combat ship crew will have to undergo retraining following the breakdown of USS Freedom and subsequently USS Coronado which brought the number of LCS to suffer an engineering casualty to four.
Earlier, USS Fort Worth broke down in Singapore while USS Milwaukee was towed to port after metallic debris was found in the port and starboard combining gear filter systems.
Following the latest incident, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, ordered an engineering stand down for every LCS crew to review procedures and standards for their engineering departments.
The stand downs have all been completed as of August 31.
“Due to the ongoing challenges with littoral combat ships, I ordered an engineering stand down for LCS Squadrons and the crews that fall under their command,” said Rowden. “These stands down allowed for time to review, evaluate, and renew our commitment to ensuring our crews are fully prepared to operate these ships safely.”
Additionally, Rowden directed the retraining of each LCS Sailor involved in engineering on board their ship. “I have asked the Surface Warfare Office School (SWOS) commander to review the wholeness of our LCS engineering education and training to include the testing and retraining of all LCS engineers,” said Rowden.
“This training will occur over the next 30 days and will allow the SWOS leadership to review our training program and determine if other changes need to be made to the training pipeline,” Rowden continued.
The required engineering training will be conducted by the SWOS’ engineering team, who will develop both a level-of-knowledge test and specialized training that will be deployed in the next 30 days to the LCS engineering force. The commanding officer of SWOS is also conducting a comprehensive LCS engineering review, which will likely take 30-60 days. From there, more adjustments may be made to the engineering training pipeline.
While determining the process for retraining and certifying the engineering departments, USS Coronado (LCS 4) experienced a casualty to one its flexible couplings assemblies on Aug. 29.
As Coronado returned to Pearl Harbor Sunday afternoon, Sept. 4, Rowden sent a small group of maintenance experts to meet the ship to take a holistic look at the engineering program on board. A preliminary investigation will provide an initial assessment and procedural review of the situation, and any shortfalls will be addressed quickly to get the ship fixed and back on deployment.