Home Americas US Navy receives first LCS with fixed combining gear issue

US Navy receives first LCS with fixed combining gear issue

USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Lockheed Martin photo of future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul during sea trials in 2020

The US Navy has received the first littoral combat ship since suspending deliveries over a fleet-wide issue related to their complicated combining gear systems.

The navy levied the delivery stop in January this year, and accepted the first new ship on November 18.

The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) was handed over by Lockheed Martin at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard, well over a year after the ship actually completed its sea trials.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul was accepted after rigorous testing of a combining gear modification that will allow for unrestricted operations, addressing a class-wide flaw that was discovered as the fleet deployed these ships in greater numbers. LCS 21 is the first Freedom-variant ship to receive the fix.

According to the navy, the bearings in the combining gear could not sustain operations under full power, preventing the ships from reaching their max design speed of up to 40 knots.

“Based on the results of the land-based and at-sea testing, both Lockheed Martin and the Navy assessed that the combining gear design modification is satisfactory and, once installed, will allow unrestricted operations of Freedom-variant ships,” Rear Adm. Casey Moton told reporters on Thursday.

“Today marks a significant shipbuilding milestone in the life of the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, an exceptional ship which will conduct operations around the globe,” said LCS program manager Capt. Mike Taylor. “I look forward to seeing Minneapolis-Saint Paul join her sister ships with 100 percent of propulsion power available for unrestricted use.”

The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the second naval ship to honor Minnesota’s Twin Cities although each city has been honored twice before. The first US Navy warship named Minneapolis-Saint Paul was a Los Angeles-class submarine launched in 1983 who took part in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708) was the first submarine to carry Tomahawk missiles specifically designed for use in strikes against Iraq during the Gulf War. Having served for over two decades with distinction, the submarine Minneapolis-Saint Paul was decommissioned in 2007.

Pending successful at-sea testing of its combining gear modification, Cooperstown (LCS 23) is planned to deliver in January 2022.

Additional LCS in various stages of construction include Marinette (LCS 25), Nantucket (LCS 27), Beloit (LCS 29) and Cleveland (LCS 31).