U.S. warship hit by technical glitch in Singapore

SINGAPORE Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:44pm EST

The USS Freedom is moored at Changi Naval Base ahead of U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' visit in Singapore May 11, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The USS Freedom is moored at Changi Naval Base ahead of U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' visit in Singapore May 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The USS Freedom, the first of a new class of U.S. warship, developed technical problems in Singapore hours before it was to take part in a naval exercise in Brunei on the final part of its first major overseas deployment, a senior officer said on Monday.

The glitch is the latest problem to hit the ship, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., after it faced electrical problems while preparing for a naval exercise with Singapore in July.

Lieutenant Commander Clay Doss said the problems which arose on Sunday were minor compared to those it faced in July. He declined to comment on how much longer the ship would have to prolong its stay in Singapore as a result.

The warship is the U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a class of shallow-draft vessels built to patrol coastal waters while tackling threats including mines and other systems used to deny access to big warships.

In July it faced generator problems and issues with its coolant system. Navy tests also found vulnerabilities in its computer network.

Top Navy officials have staunchly defended the LCS and warned lawmakers that halted funding for the ships or their equipment could drive up costs.

The Navy plans to buy 52 of the new LCS warships at a cost of more than $30 billion for a range of missions, including surface warfare, mine hunting and ant-submarine missions.

It plans to buy some of Lockheed's steel mono-hull design and some of an aluminum-hulled LCS trimaran design built by Australia's Austal Ltd.

Doss said the latest problems arose as the ship was conducting steering checks at Changi Naval Base while it prepared to sail to Brunei on the way to its home port in San Diego.

"Although maintenance issues can sometimes cause unpredictable schedule impacts, technicians currently do not expect this problem to significantly affect Freedom's deployment schedule," Doss said in an email.

He said a feedback cable in the port steerable waterjet stopped sending signals to a control console on the bridge that indicates the waterjet's position. The ship is scheduled to stay in Southeast Asia for coming weeks before ending its 10-month deployment in the region.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Comments (2)
ErnestPayne wrote:
To paraphrase LeMay’s comment about the B-29 “these appear to be the buggiest ships to come down the pike”. Apparently all the sea trials didn’t solve the problems. Or the problems were swept under the rug to get these things to sea.

Nov 11, 2013 11:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
nose2066 wrote:
Maybe all those made-in-China circuit boards that the U.S. military has been buying are designed to fail if the ship comes close to China’s mainland?

Nov 12, 2013 6:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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