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March 18, 2011

All wet: 6-inch crack found in newest Navy ship

This is supposed to be an airlines and aerospace blog but since the latter tilts heavily towards defense that's a good enough reason to add this item.

The Navy's first new Littoral-class small patrol ship, the Lockheed Martin-built U.S.S. Freedom, suffered a nasty crack in the hull last month in stormy seas when it was under going sea trials, according to Bloomberg News.

During a heavy-weather ocean trial on the USS Freedom in mid-February, ... sailors discovered a six-inch horizontal hull crack below the waterline that leaked five gallons an hour. Inside the hull the crack measured three inches. It originated in a weld seam between two steel plates.

The Navy says it's not yet clear whether the crack was due to faulty design, bad metal or faulty workmanship. The next ship of the same model being built by Lockheed is the USS Fort Worth. But rest assured, the Navy and Lockheed are working on fixing the problem ahead of time, the Navy said.

Of course, Lockheed has been telling us everything was going well with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the last 10 years, too.

- Bob Cox



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If i remember correctly, both LCS designs are being built to commercial specs instead of military specs to save money. Could that possible be the issue. Also the USS Freedom has a steel hull while the USS Independence has an aluminum hull. Could this be a bigger issue in the Independence class of vessels?

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