US ship retired after only eight years of service due to hull cracks

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WASHINGTON — The US battleship LCS Coronado [LCS-4] spent only eight years in sea and ocean waters before being retired. The solution is the US Navy, and the reason – structural defects and cracks in the hull. LCS Coronado [LCS-4] is of the Independence class.

Independence-class, Wikipedia

The decision to retire the ship was made a long time ago, but on September 14th it was officially decommissioned. At the beginning of the year, BulgarianMilitary.com was one of the first media in the world to announce that the US was preparing for the retirement of these ships. In addition to the LCS Coronado [LCS-4], two more ships are already retired, including the USS Independence (LCS-2). But one of the three retired ships is the Freedom-class LCS Freedom [LCS-1].

The manufacturer of these ships [Independence-class] is the Alabama shipyard Austal USA. A total of 19 Independence-class ships were to be acquired by the US Navy. Currently, three are already decommissioned, 12 are in active service, and the rest are either in the process of being armed or in production.

The now-retired LCS Coronado [LCS-4] did not play a major role in US defense capabilities. Its function was primarily as a testing and training platform. But this class of ships [Independence] has serious structural problems, leading not only to cracks in the hull but also rapid corrosion of the metal. Experts say that this is the reason why this ship has less speed than expected. This accordingly reduced their performance in sea state to the category above 4.

Taiwan might get them

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Back in April this year, when the news about the structural problems of this type of ship gained popularity, there were rumors that Taiwan could acquire some of them. Besides the Independence class, the Freedom class also has these problems.

Taiwanese military experts say the possible acquisition of several ships from either or both classes of ships is being discussed in Taipei’s political circles. They say Taiwan is aware of the vessels’ technical problems. Maintenance costs are also known, Taipei says. “Taiwan is evaluating them and it is too early to give a definite answer whether they will be acquired or not,” Taiwan’s Deputy Defense Minister Alex Poe said.

As for the Freedom-class ships, according to the Polish online portal Defence 24, the US Navy has planned nine Freedom ships to be decommissioned in the fiscal year 2023, which begins in October of this year. This means the complete abandonment of this failed unit type and the funds saved will be invested in the Constellation frigate program.

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