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Navy Suspends Deliveries of Freedom-Class LCS, Blames Gear Defect

US Navy

Navy Suspends Deliveries of Freedom-Class LCS, Blames Gear Defect

The Navy has discontinued further deliveries of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship until a material defect found in the warship’s combining gear can be fixed. 

According to a statement released by the Navy, the defect affects a complex transmission that transmits power generated by the ship’s engines to its waterjet propulsion system.

Rear Adm. Casey Moton, the head of the unmanned and small combatants office at Naval Sea Systems Command and a past Potomac Officers Club Event speaker, said a modified version of the combining gear, which is still under development,  will undergo extensive factory and sea-based testing before it is accepted and installed in-service, Defense News reported

The developer of the defective combining gear, German firm RENK, has worked with service officials and Lockheed Martin to develop a fix, which could take months to install on each ship, according to a senior Navy official.

Lockheed Martin is expected to conduct the repairs since the combining gear issue was deemed a “latent defect,” the senior Navy official added. The estimated cost, however, has yet to be determined.

In a statement, the Navy said it is working to ensure that commanders will still be able to use the warships. While a concrete plan is yet to be made regarding the installation of the modified combining gears on the Freedom LCS fleet, the Navy assured that measures have been implemented to mitigate risk to the in-service Freedom-variant ships. 

The newly discovered combining gear defect builds on similar issues found on the LCS fleet, which dates back to at least late 2015. Previous combining gear defects have resulted in setbacks to the LCS Milwaukee and the LCS Fort Worth.

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Tags: Casey Moton combining gear Defense News Freedom LCS Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship Lockheed Martin material defect RENK Speaker News U.S. Navy