Friday, December 9, 2016

New Details Emerge on Littoral Combat Ship Breakdowns |

New Details Emerge on Littoral Combat Ship Breakdowns | In a pair of congressional hearings about the Navy's embattled littoral combat ship program this month, service program managers and oversight officials fielded tough questions about unexpected increases from ship unit costs -- from $220 million to $470 million over the course of the program -- and concerns about a planned block buy of upgraded frigates based on the same design.

But the panel also revealed new details about the cause and scope of a series of engineering casualties that have sidelined five of the eight active littoral combat ships in a little more than a year.

In testimony on Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations, Naval Surface Forces Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden revealed that the most recent casualty, damage to the USS Montgomery when it transited southward through the Panama Canal, was at least in part due to failure on the part of canal engineers not to follow the Navy's instructions on how to guide it through the narrow passage.

The Oct. 29 mishap was the second time an Independence-class LCS, with its wider trimaran design, had been damaged passing through the canal. The USS Coronado had also required repairs after a canal transit in early 2014.