U.S. Navy’s New LCS Towed to Port After Breaking Down Off Virginia

USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) during sea trials
USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) during sea trials, Sept. 18. 2015. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship had to be towed into port last week after losing propulsion off the coast of Virginia.  

A statement from the U.S. Navy said the ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), was en-route to a naval base in Little Creek when it lost propulsion Thursday night while approximately 40 nautical miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.

The USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53) was sent to retrieve the vessel and tow it to the Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) at Little Creek-Fort Story, where they arrived at approximately 9 p.m. EST on Friday.

The USS Milwaukee will undergo full diagnostics and repair while at the JEB Little Creek-Fort Story. 

The Navy says the delay was caused “by the discovery of metallic debris in the port and starboard combining gear filter systems”.

“The Milwaukee crew initially took action Monday when they discovered very fine metallic debris in the port combining gear filter system,” the Navy said in a statement. “The crew cleaned the combining gear filters following established procedures, but locked the port shaft as a precautionary measure to prevent possible shaft damage. Thursday evening, while conducting routine steering checks, the ship lost pressure in the starboard combining gear lube oil system. The casualty was due to similar metallic debris contamination of the filter.”

USS Milwaukee was en-route to Little Creek following the ship’s commissioning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 21.

Milwaukee is a Freedom-variant of the littoral combat ship and will be homported in San Diego.  The Freedom-variant LCSs are designed and built by a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. and constructed at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.