Step aboard the USS Coronado, part of the troubled LCS class that the US Navy recently admitted was a massive failure

USS Coronado.

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USS Coronado.
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US Navy

The US Navy announced in April that it may not deploy any littoral combat ships this year because of maintenance problems.

“Three of the Navy’s four original LCSs are in maintenance now, and four of the eight block-buy ships that have commissioned already are undergoing their initial Post Shakedown Availabilities (PSA),” USNI News reported in April, citing Cmdr. John Perkins, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force Pacific.

But LCS’ also have a problem with survivability, including limited anti-ship self-defense capabilities, a lack of combat radar systems and more.

The Pentagon is so concerned that LCS vessels aren’t “survivable in high-intensity combat” that it’s looking for a new frigate to replace them (read about one of the contenders here).

In any event, one of the LCS that does not appear to be undergoing maintenance, according to the USNI News report, is the USS Coronado.

Step aboard and take a look:


There are two variants of LCS — Independence and Freedom — and the Coronado is an Independence-class ship.

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US Navy

Source: US Navy


Independence variants are 421.5 feet long.

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US Navy

Source: US Navy


126.3 feet high.

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US Navy

Source: US Navy


And have a beam of 103.7 feet.

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US Navy

Source: US Navy


The Independence variants have trimarian hulls, which means there’s a main hull and two smaller hulls on the sides, which you can see below.

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US Navy

But the hulls are also aluminum hulls and rather thin, and the hull of the USS Montgomery, seen below, even cracked in 2016.

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The USS Montgomery enters dry dock for Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) at BAE Systems Ship Repair facility.
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US Navy

The Independence variant’s trimarian design also means that the ships have to enter drydock for repairs, which will slow their availability.


Here’s a shot of the Coronado’s helicopter flight deck.

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US Navy

And another from the deck itself.

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An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft, left, and an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter are staged on the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) prior to flight operations.
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US Navy

Here’s a shot from the deck looking into the hangar bay.

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US Navy

And a shot from the hangar bay onto the flight deck.

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US Navy

And another from the helicopter control tower.

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US Navy

LCS are configured to carry MH-60R/S Sea Hawk helicopters and tactical UAVs.

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An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter landing on the flight deck of the USS Coronado.
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US Navy

Source: naval-technology.com


But they lack major armaments.

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US Navy

They have a Harpoon anti-ship missile system on the bow.

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US Navy

A Mark 110 57mm gun.

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US Navy

50-calibre machine guns on the port and starboard walkways and on the stern underneath the flight deck.

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US Navy

Source: naval-technology.com


And a SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system, which is on the roof of the hangar.

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US Navy

Source: naval-technology.com


It also has an ALEX Decoy System — but that’s it.

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A SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system on top of the Coronado’s hangar bay.
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US Navy

Here’s a shot of the bridge.

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Reuters

And another from a different angle.

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Reuters

This is the firing authorization panel in the bridge.

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Reuters

The LCS runs on a water jet propulsion with combined diesel and gas turbine engines.

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Lt. James Berry visually inspects an engine as the main propulsion assistant in preparation for Engineering Operations Certification aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado.
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US Navy

In August 2016, one of the Coronado’s flexible shafts failed, forcing it to return to San Diego from Hawaii.

But that’s not the only kind of engine casualty LCS vessels have had, which you can read more about here.

Source: US Navy


LCS have cost the US billions and billions of dollars over the last 16 years, but have largely been a failure. At least their crews seem to have had fun at times though.

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US Navy