Another LCS, 4th in a Year, Breaks Down During Pacific Transit


The littoral combat ship USS Coronado is returning to Pearl Harbor from the Western Pacific after experiencing an engineering casualty earlier Tuesday, officials with the Navy's Third Fleet confirmed.

The incident comes just days after the Navy acknowledged that another littoral combat ship, the USS Freedom, had sustained significant damage to one of its diesel engines.

The Coronado departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Aug. 26 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific, Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry told in a statement.

"USS Coronado (LCS 4) experienced an engineering casualty today while transiting to the Western Pacific," Perry said in the statement. "The crew took precautionary measures and the ship is currently returning to Pearl Harbor to determine the extent of the problem and conduct repairs."

The Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship to be sidelined by an engineering casualty in less than a year, following breakdowns by the USS Freedom in July and the USS Milwaukee and USS Fort Worth in December and January, respectively.

However, the ship is the first of the Independence-class littoral combat ships, made by Austal USA, to suffer such an issue. The other ships are all part of the Freedom Class, made by Lockheed Martin Corp. The news of the Coronado's breakdown was first reported by Navy Times.

Third Fleet officials did not elaborate on the nature of the Coronado's engineering casualty, but said it appears to be unrelated to recent propulsion problems involving the Fort Worth and Freedom.

Prior to its planned Western Pacific transit, the Coronado participated in the Rim of the Pacific multinational exercise in July, where it was used as a platform to conduct a live-fire missile test with a Block 1C Harpoon over-the-horizon missile, a key step in development of an improved LCS with increased lethality and capacity.

The ship, which was commissioned in 2014, departed its San Diego homeport June 22 for its first deployment, with a crew of about 70 sailors aboard, officials said.

Navy officials have yet to make public the results of investigations into the three prior LCS engineering casualties.

The Milwaukee required repairs after a clutch failed to disengage while the ship switched from gas turbine to diesel engine systems, resulting in damage to the clutch gears and forcing the crew to cut short a transit from San Diego to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and receive a tow to Virginia for repairs.

The Fort Worth recently returned home to San Diego after eight months sidelined in Singapore after engine parts were damaged when lube oil was not applied correctly to the combining gears.

And Navy officials said Sunday that the Freedom may need an engine rebuild or replacement after a faulty seal allowed seawater to reach one of the diesel engines and damage it.

It's not clear how repairs to the Coronado may affect the ship's deployment plans. According to Navy officials, the ship was expected to conduct patrols and joint exercises with regional navies in the Western Pacific, and to participate in two major multinational exercises: Kakadu in Australia and Deep Sabre in Singapore.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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