WASHINGTON --- The littoral combat ship Detroit is limping back to Mayport, Florida from a deployment to South America in a move that marks the latest setback for the Freedom variant’s complicated propulsion system.
Three sources familiar with the situation told Defense News the casualty is in Detroit’s combining gear, which is a complex transmission that connects power from two large gas turbine engines and two main propulsion diesel engines to the ship’s propulsion shafts, which propels the ship through the water with water jets.
Detroit will redeploy to Southern Command when repairs are completed, U.S. 4th Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson said in a statement.
“USS Detroit (LCS 7) experienced an engineering casualty during routine operations, and a technical evaluation determined that in-port repairs would be required,” the statement read. “USS Detroit has been a vital and productive asset and will be redeployed as soon as possible.”
Detroit’s Freedom-class sister ship Sioux City and the trimaran Independence-class LCS Gabrielle Giffords remain on station, Gabrielson said.
The Freedom-class LCS has been bedeviled by issues with its combining gear, which is an imperfect solution engineered to meet the 40-knot-plus speed requirement. The ship can make between 10 and 12 knots with just its diesel engines, but to go any faster it must engage the gas turbine engines. The combining gear fuses and transmits the power to the propulsion shafts, but is a system with a lot of moving parts and has proven unreliable. (end of excerpt)
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