This hasn’t been a good season for the US Navy ships. Four boats from the Navy’s two classes of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)–that the high-tech, modular warships that were assumed to be the future of naval warfare in areas near shore–have endured major engineering problems, including breaking down at sea. Three of the LCS ships that endured engineering failures were from the Freedom course, ships built by Lockheed Martin for the LCS application: USS Freedom, USS Fort Worth, and USS Milwaukee. The application also has seen other setbacks, including the USS Montgomery (an Independence-course LCS built by Austal USA) suffering a cracked hull following hitting the wall using a Panama Canal lock.
However, the LCS’ engineering woes may not be the end of the trouble its shipbuilding programs are facing. As defense author David Axe reports, David Giles, a British aerospace engineer-turned-marine architect, has filed a lawsuit accusing the Navy of concealing elements of the Freedom‘s layout from job he did to commercialize a wave-piercing, “semi-planing” scale–operate Giles improved in the early 1990s.
Giles’ layout was originated from work his company. The patents had been filed for a layout to get high-speed container boats, known as Fastships. Giles formed a firm to build them. The layout patents died in 2010, but Giles’ firm–that is now bankrupt–filed suit against the Navy later years of trying compensation at 2012.
Lockheed Martin had formed a “strategic partnership” with Giles’ Fastships at 2002 since the Navy began looking at LCS layouts, Giles informed Axe. And he contended that design advice from his Fastships layouts–for container boats capable of speeds between 40 and 50 knots (46 to 57 mph)–was shared with confidence with the US Navy prior to that.
The Navy passed on Giles’ Prelude hull layout since it needed something bigger and quicker. The Navy then changed its head in 2003, altering the design requirements to the size and rate category coated by Giles’ patents. Lockheed kicked the project and Fastships apart but went ahead and incorporated much of Fastships’ design elements in the Freedom course hull, Giles has asserted. Lockheed was not named in the lawsuit.
This is not the only lawsuit the Navy faces over accusations of stealing property. Bitmanagement Software filed a federal lawsuit earlier this season accusing the Navy of all pirating that the corporation’s applications, installing more than 558,000 unlicensed copies of its own BS Contract Geo geospatial visualization applications when the service only had licenses for 38 computers. In that episode, the Navy has responded that it received consent to conduct the copies across its own network.
Too hot to handle
Meanwhile, the Navy’s new destroyer is with its engineering woes. After being commissioned at Baltimore in October, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) began a journey to San Diego, its assigned home port, for final equipment matching.
The Zumwalt comes with an all-electric drive system with power given by gas turbines. The issue with the ship was from the heat exchanger that cools the gas turbines. A Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spokesperson told Ars in an email today that advice on the cause of the collapse was not yet available.
But, many of the British Royal Navy’s new destroyers, the Form 45, endured crashes operating from the Persian Gulf that summer since the intercoolers because of their gas turbine engines failed at the Gulf’s warm waters. The Type 45s All are receiving technologies overhauls to correct the issue. The system had design changes that are late and was not completely tested before deployment. It is likely that the Zumwalt’s heat exchanger also failed because of the temperatures of their water .