The U.S. Navy focuses on defective LCS parts and delays maintenance to improve operational days


The U.S. Navy has identified the causes of downtime, including design flaws in 32 parts that need to be replaced and a sluggish contractor-based maintenance model that needs to be more responsive. I would like to extend the number of operating days.

Lieutenant General Roy Kitchener, commander of the Navy’s naval corps, will soon fully deploy the LCS class to reporters, providing fleet commanders with the presence and combat capabilities promised over the years. To achieve that vision, he quickly determined what was wrong with today’s ships and was clearer to prepare for success in future missions. Launched a task force that empowers him.

According to Kitchener, Task Force LCS is focused on improving the four buckets. It’s about reliability or addressing design flaws. Work on sustainability or maintenance models. Deadly improvements that can be added to ships. Rationalization of the force generation process.

reliability

The Navy has discovered 32 key reliability issues between free and independent LCS designs, Kitchener said.

Of these 32 ships, the Navy is currently focusing on five Freedom-class littoral combat ships and four stand-alone ships. They lost the most uptime during LCS deployment and their fixes maximize performance.

“Which has the greatest impact? What is the maximum return on investment? Pursuing them,” Kitchener told both the unmanned and small combatant program Executive Office and the non-profit research and analytics group CNA. Then, push for their funding and make an implementation plan to get them on board quickly.

Some of these defective parts were spent by the Navy on hundreds of days of operations, Kitchener said.

The main factor that facilitates the preparation of the Freedom variant is the coupling gear. Milwaukee has plagued the class since late 2015 when it failed On a virgin voyage to her homeport in Mayport, Florida.

According to Kitchener, Freedom-variant builder Lockheed Martin has already conducted ground tests on the proposed solution with German manufacturer RENK and is installing a new coupling gear system in one of the latest ships, Minneapolis Cent. intend to do something. Paul, for maritime testing.

“Previously, I tried to fix the gears that join, such as some bearings. And unfortunately, they didn’t succeed … until I started it and tested it at sea. Is the place of proof and what I told them, but I remain cautiously optimistic, “Kitchener told Defense News over the phone.

Other Freedom-class coastal issues include parts related to diesel generator rigid mounts, fuel lines, water jets, and boat dabits.

For stand-alone, the Navy needs to identify parts related to water cylinders, water jet pressure switches, diesel engines, and engine water jackets and replace them with more reliable parts.

Parts are installed on the ship while continuous maintenance is possible, or when one of the older parts fails and needs repair.

For example, Kitchener has recently deployed one Independence-class vessel in the Western Pacific (either Tulsa or Charleston, both currently first deployed in WESTPAC) of these components. The Navy can ship one of the newly designed replacement parts for loading on the ship, stating that one has caused casualties. This provides early feedback and data on the performance of new parts and their impact on ship reliability.

“When looking for the highest return on investment when doing all the analysis, one of the biggest factors we’ve seen so far is that an unreliable part or a part on a critical system has failed. It’s downtime, that’s why we got up [strike team within PEO USC] The reliability of these water jets needs to be increased. It is an intercooler. Therefore, the list of 32 upgrades we need to make is probably the most important task force LCS pursues. “Then I would like to tell you that sustainability is next.”

sustainability

LCS has a long term (up to 17 months so far, with plans to expand to 24 months), with crew changes every few months and monthly maintenance work by contractors at forward hubs like Singapore. I will do it.

However, these monthly maintenance periods can be up to 14 days, Kitchener said.

He said the Task Force believes that moving to maintenance every other month is a low-risk change and can provide fleet commanders with more days at sea.

“If we can reduce maintenance and do intensive maintenance, we can get back more days for operation, and if we make it more reliable, we can get more.” Said Kitchener.

There is also a move to shift more maintenance to seafarers rather than contractors through maintenance teams on ships that act as land or LCS bids.

The Task Force reviewed the MET structure and said, “Is there the right number of people, is the number of people correct, is the number of people needed small, does it need to be increased, and what is the price? I think the price is almost correct. And they’re only building some. And where do they fit into the scheme of things from an organizational point of view? According to Kitchener, the METs are placed under a regional maintenance center and LCS maintenance work. Without it, it may be possible to support the maintenance work of other vessels in the concentrated area of ​​the fleet.

However, Kitchener always needs on-site technical assistance and wants to bring in technical experts so that they can start working on LCS on a faster timeline. He said today it could take up to three weeks to identify the right technical experts and take them to the deployed LCS to begin the fix. He wants to shorten it to five days.

lethal

Kitchener praised the effort to deploy Navy strike missiles on all LCSs as a way to enhance the ship’s offensive power.

“We really believe this will significantly improve the lethality of LCS and will continue to carry these weapons on board …. Prioritize WESTPAC deployers to get the missiles first. To do. [Gabrielle Giffords] The launch of the new version, the 1A version, is complete. We are also considering other options. We are looking at what can be installed on these vessels to enable longer distance navigation, and hope to demonstrate a proof of concept to increase mortality on the ground next spring, perhaps summer. I’m out. Kitchener said.

According to Kitchener and Maj. Gen. Robert Nowakovsky, the Navy continues to develop and test LCS anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasure mission packages, with the reserve role Robert Nowakovsky appointed by Kitchener to oversee its task force. , Must be completed by 2023. Instead.

LCS Vision

In the short term, Kitchener said there will be some improvement in LCS over the next year or two.

“I think we can improve credibility, improve our ability to meet the requirements of operational commanders, and maintain ourselves on the battlefield to carry out our missions.”

However, in the long run, he keeps himself and LCS at a high level, allowing him to provide an important presence to thwart high-end enemies such as China and Russia.

“Looking at 2026, that’s the number in my head. It’s time for 31 ships to become available. And my goal is to increase our presence every year. Reliability and Based on sustainability, we should be able to show this number in theaters next year. That number the following year, “said Kitchner.” And 31 ships–and, as you know, the Navy did. Looking at all the investigations, even the latest ones are important to be in front of them, and they are equipped with attack missiles and perhaps some other promising ones that can be used to enhance their attack capabilities. If so, it is a viable ship for competition between great powers in every battlefield around the world.

“The ability to maintain deployment with 31 ships for 24 months is powerful, and we know we haven’t really talked about the battle yet. They are capable in the battle. But in Phase 0, presence is everything, and you can get a big presence on those ships. “

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