|Littoral Combat Ships actually underway|
There have been a continual string of breakdowns of these fragile vessels, some as early in their careers as occurring on their shakedown cruise. And now, the fourth of them has failed, to the extent it had to be towed across the Pacific to Hawaii for repair/rebuild/replacement of machinery.
The littoral combat ship USS Coronado is returning to Pearl Harbor from the Western Pacific after experiencing an engineering casualty last week, 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 Military.com 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.
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.
And so it goes...
Until next time,