Report says defects leading to hull cracks in LCS fleet

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:11 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Half of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships built by Austal USA are experiencing cracks in the hulls. That’s according to a report by Navy Times.

According to the report -- the cracks have been discovered on six of the LCS variants, nearly half of the 13-ship Independence class fleet -- and depending on how fast they go in certain waters -- the cracks can potentially grow.

While the Navy has not indentified which ships have the cracks -- they’re the same type of ships built at Austal’s Mobile facility.

According to Navy Times -- the USS Omaha is one of the ships suffering such cracks. The $440-million LCS was commissioned in 2018 and has since been turned into a training vessel.

Navy Times shows a temporary standing order -- from July 2021 -- prohibiting the Omaha from traveling faster than 15-knots (17 miles per hour) or with wave heights of about 8 feet.

Sources say all Independence variant ships have been inspected and are able to meet their operational requirements and that the issue does not pose a risk to the safety of the sailors on board. The cracks are also said to be found in “higher-stress areas of the structure” and no hot spots have been identified below the waterline.

According to the report -- Austal USA has incorporated a “revised configuration” to hulls still under construction or warranty. While the Navy is or will be fixing the in-service ships -- by replacing deck plate and shell plate with thicker materials.

Meanwhile, we have reached out to Austal USA for comment -- but have not heard back.


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