More LCS-1 Troubles: 6-inch Hull Crack, Leak…

by Craig Hooper on March 18, 2011

Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio discovered something that is not supposed to happen to a new ship–particularly a new ship that has buoyancy issues:

During a heavy-weather ocean trial on the USS Freedom in mid-February, he said, sailors discovered a six-inch horizontal hull crack below the waterline that leaked five gallons an hour. Inside the hull the crack measured three inches. It originated in a weld seam between two steel plates.

The ship returned to its home port in viagra canada San Diego, avoiding rough seas, after the commanding officer judged the leak rate “manageable,” Johnson said.

Smaller cracks that indicated welding “defects” showed up in the welds of the vessel’s aluminum structure during sea trials last year, Johnson said in his e-mail.

Initial analysis of the second Lockheed-built vessel, the USS Independence, showed improved welding, he said.

A reminder to Bloomberg–the Independence is NOT built by Lockheed.  I’m surprised that I still need to point this out, but far too many people out there are

failing to distinguish between the LCS-1 and LCS-2 classes.

But this, the latest recent failure aboard LCS-1…shouldn’t have happened. What also shouldn’t have happened is the release of this news the day after a contract gets awarded.

  • RRRRRRR

    You think I am kidding?! Get rid of the excess tonnage and she won’t crack as bad when you hit a wave at 70 MPH (I know its in knots but MPH is effective)
    Don’t know hwere all the excess weight is?! I do! Hire me and I’ll show you. Guaranteed or your money back! Can’t get a better deal then that can you.

  • RRRRRRR

    LCS, It’s stated mission: Infiltrate, exfiltrate brown water, coastal water areas. DDG51 Class needs deeper water and cannot operate in certain shallower coastal areas where Teams may need to get in with op gear and then get out of doge in a big kinda way. She is a perfect platform for shallow water infiltaration and spec ops. She is wicked fast. LCS2 is a good looking but over rated scow, barely performs and breaks a lot. LCS1 could go on a diet. There is so many left over foundations and piping from earlier equipment and designs that were scrapped but the parts that were built and installed are still on the boat. Yup they are and Lock Mart and G&C know it, too. Supena me and I’ll show where 80 tons of garbage is. The excuse is, we don’t have the money to remove it, waaaaaaaa!
    .

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  • P

    Tom,

    See here:
    http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2009-09/no-need-high-speed

    The Israelis wanted a heavier-armed LCS made to their specifications, and even then, they opted to buy a foreign ship over the LCS-Israeli version.

    The US Navy doesn’t need the LCS. The US Navy needs the LCS-Surface Combat Ship (SCS) as in the Lockheed drawings as Tom pointed out. Sure, more cost for the LCS-SCS, but much more capability too (OK, perhaps minus the AEGIS sensors since AEGIS is so expensive).

    The odd thing is that even the Israelis (and many analysts, including the GAO) have pointed out what the LCS needs. It’ll be a woeful shame if the USN builds all 50+ LCSs to the LCS-1 and LCS-2 prototype designs and not LCS-SCS.

    As for the hull crack, it shouldn’t have happened. Did the USS Pegasus hydrofoils experience similar fatigue issues on their trial runs? I seem to recall that those hydrofoils were a balky bunch of small ships.

  • leesea

    The 6×3 inch crack is reportedly on the vertical hull below the waterline and possibly due to “large but fairly localized fatigue failures”

    This may not be the big deal some are making it out to be?

  • Tom Meyer

    Wonder what the actual depth (plus width & length) is for the “boxes” intended for the NLOS?

    Also, in the International version of LCS-2, the ship was shown with VLS forward – just aft of the 57MM. In addition, the International version was shown with 2 quad Harpoon launchers between the VLS and the superstructure?

    Finally, the International version was shown with 2 Phalanx CIWS located over the hangar area – rather than a single CIWS?

    What exactly is the growth potential for the LCS-2?

  • P

    Do you know if the LCSs could be outfitted with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) in those box containers meant for the NLOS missile? Do these ships have the sensors for the ESSM? Also, woukldn’t ESSM counter missile, AAW, and Anti-Surface out to…what…30KM or is it 40KM?

  • Great discussion, y’all. Would love to see F-35 lillypadding off these ships, but the heat of the downdraft would be a problem.

    But I’d love to see LCS-2 grow into a UAV platform–beyond the 1st GEN UAVs already planned for ’em.

  • P

    I don’t believe the USN has said what the tactics are for the LCS yet. I thought the LCS was meant to operate alone independent of the larger much more expensive and capable ships towards the coast because if not, why not just build more Burkes or “Burke-lite” or “mini-Burkes?”

    I also wonder if the LCS-2 could be retrofitted to house a F-35B VTOL what with its large flight deck. Imagine two LCS-2s with a pair or four F-35Bs and two LCS-1s with helos and drones. That in itself would be a small air force off a coast with over-the-horizon with AA, ASW, and anti-surface capability. Add a sub for even added protection and offensive power.

    IF the LCS designs become successful, then perhaps the USN could scale UP the design and add more space, sensors, weapons, and capability…a big IF there.

    The article also made no mention of module weight. Since the USN hardly has any LCS modules made, did the USN simulate the module weight inside the LCS-1 during Sea Trials?

  • DJF

    “”””Does a DDG-51 need a LCS alongside it for backup because a DDG-51 sure doesn’t really need a LCS for backup.””

    The pre-79 DDG-51’s don’t have a helicopter so a LCS could provide a joint use helo and even drones. I was on a pre-79 DDG and we operated with a Spruance which allowed the use of a helo which also used our deck and command and control. Now that the Spurances are gone the only ships to provide extra helo hangers is the LCS’s

    Also the LCS can extend the sensor range of the DDG especially in ASW and anti-surface while the DDG provides the AAW cover for both.

    This does not mean that I like everything about the LCS, personally I would have not cut back on crew so much and traded its extra high speed for extra range.

  • P

    Obviously this is not good news…

    Hull cracking and torsion issues shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if the LCS operates at such high speed in heavy seas. Probably the Lockheed ships’ hulls need better stiffening since their hulls touch more water more than the catamaran LCS-2s.

    The USN should take a lesson from the USAF…pulling Gs and operating fighters in a combat environment is lessening the structural life of the USAF fighters a lot faster. Thing is that most USAF fighters aren’t new compared to the new LCS-1. Still, the G-force issue on both ship and plane appears along similar lines.

    LCSs are supposed to operate independently. Now with news of hull cracks and troubles, I wonder if the USN’s tactical plan is to have LCSs operate in pairs, fours, or packs for mutual support. How will the LCS cope with issues such as this if they operate independently? Who will come to the LCS’s aid if the LCS operates alone?

    Now one has to wonder if the LCS is more of an asset or a liability if more problems occur.

    Does a DDG-51 need a LCS alongside it for backup because a DDG-51 sure doesn’t really need a LCS for backup.

    Another issue not pointed out is that the LCS-1 and LCS-2 didn’t go to Sea Trials fully loaded and prepared. Missing from both ships are the NLOS missiles, which were canceled. So what goes into those (empty) VLS box containers and did the Navy simulate the entire missile weight of a fully-loaded and combat-ready LCS?

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