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Navy maintainers reduce littoral combat ship repair times

The US Navy’s Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73 has reorganised the process for dealing with maintenance incidents for littoral combat ships deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, reducing turnaround time for such incidents from 15 days to four days, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson told USNI News.

Gabrielson said one of the purposes of the current rotational deployment of USS Coronado (LCS-4) was to prepare for the deployment of multiple littoral combat ships through Singapore and other locations, and there was a growing need to ensure an effective and efficient maintenance programme in the forward operating environment.

Gabrielson said when USS Coronado arrived in Singapore, a comprehensive examination of the process and procedures for handling unexpected engineering casualties was undertaken. The examination revealed that based on past deployments, it took an average of 15 days to correct maintenance casualties.

Gabrielson added, “Our team got together and first of all looked at the operational requirements. We then asked ourselves how good do we need to be in order to maximise our ability to meet those requirements. We needed to have confidence that we could correct most propulsion casualty incidents within four days to ensure we can meet LCS operational schedules down the line.”

Gabrielson said the examination required a collaborative effort by the entire LCS enterprise, from the maintenance and support process, comprising a mix of navy, civilian and government-contracted personnel, along with original equipment manufacturers, to reduce the 15-day turnaround time for correcting maintenance casualties to an average of four days.

He added that these efficiencies are applicable to wherever the USS Coronado and future littoral combat ships are deployed in the region and not just in Singapore, and that some of the conclusions that were reached included the relocation of personnel, support assets and spare part stocks to better support the operation of rotationally deployed littoral combat ships in the region.

Coronado will be one of the US ships participating in an exercise, code-named Pacific Griffin, with the Republic of Singapore Navy, which will take place in Guam in August. “We’re still finalising the details on that, but it will be a high-end exercise that will involve live-firing,” Gabrielson said.

The US Navy is also examining increased aviation capability for rotationally deployed littoral combat ships, an over-the-horizon missile capability, and additional systems to increase the littoral combat ship lethality for sea control missions to maximise the potential of the platform.

In regard to the future presence of multiple littoral combat ships in the region, Gabrielson said his team was ready and prepared to support these deployments: “We’re in a good place with the work that has been done, the lessons learned and the avocation of those lessons, such as the 15 to four turnaround for casualty repair, and we’ll continue to do more to conduct preventive maintenance on these ships and seek ways to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in how we support them. We’re ready and excited to welcome multiple LCS to the region and put them to work, and there’s no shortage of meaningful work for these ships.” - May 2017

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