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Navy Orders Big Change for Littoral Combat Ships After Engineering Problems

Rowden’s program-wide review of engineering procedures should go a long way towards reducing some of the sailor errors that have bedeviled the ships this year, said Bryan Clark, a former senior Navy aide who's now an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “What we are seeing is a combination of first-in-class problems, and not just due to it being an immature design,” Clark said. “This is more about the need to build up the competence of the people who work on it. “Some of the problems we are having is the operators aren’t familiar with how to maintain and operate the ship.” Clark argues that the operating procedures that come from the manufacturer are often written for technicians, not a sailor who has a bunch of other responsibilities. And on LCS, every major evolution from underway refueling to sea and anchor detail requires almost every warm body on the ship. “On more mature classes you’ll see that the procedures are really clear and well written because they have been refined over years and years — a lot of times these things are written in blood,” Clark said. “What happens with brand new ships is it takes a while to get these things ironed out.”

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