By Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch
Program Executive Officer for Littoral Combat Ships
The future USS Coronado (LCS 4) successfully completed acceptance trials Aug. 19-23. As with all new construction ships in the Navy, the trial was conducted by the Board of Inspection and Survey.
This was INSURV’s second acceptance trials of an Independence-variant littoral combat ship. Key at-sea demonstrations included main propulsion full power, steering, anchoring, launch and recovery operations with both the 7- and 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, and surface detect-to-engage demonstrations.
INSURV commented that Coronado’s performance was “strong” and trial results “sat squarely in the middle of the bell curve for similar early-in-production ships.” The Board has recommended that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert accept delivery of the ship provided all starred deficiencies are corrected or waived prior to delivery. Correction or waiver of starred card deficiencies prior to ship delivery is the standard process for all new construction Navy ships.
Coronado’s acceptance trials showed significant improvement in the LCS shipbuilding process, when compared to the results of the USS Independence (LCS 2) acceptance trials. INSURV identified 10 starred deficiencies during Coronado’s acceptance trials. This compares favorably with 40 starred deficiencies on Independence. A starred deficiency significantly degrades a ship’s ability to perform an assigned mission, impacts crew or equipment safety, or prevents the proper operation of the ship.
The plan to correct the starred deficiencies is under development and will be provided to Adm. Greenert in support of Navy’s formal acceptance of Coronado, which is planned for Sept. 27.
In addition to the starred deficiencies, a total of 756 trial cards were identified by INSURV. This compares favorably with the 2,080 trial cards written during Independence’s acceptance trials and indicates that the class continues to improve as Austal USA moves into full-rate production on the Independence variant. Coronado is scheduled to sail away from Mobile, Ala., in January 2014, and will commission in her namesake city, Coronado, Calif. The commissioning date is tentatively planned for April 2014.