SINGAPORE Nov 11 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
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
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 aluminium-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
"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.