The USS Fort Worth underway in the Pacific Ocean. Navy photo

The damage to the propulsion system of the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth was not as bad as feared, and the vessel will be able to cruise home to San Diego as soon as next month on normal power, the publication Defense News reported Friday.

The Fort Worth has been sidelined in Singapore since January, when a failure to apply proper amounts of lubrication caused the shutdown of the ship’s combining gear, which allows diesel and turbine engines to work together.

Several sailors, including the commanding officer of one of the vessel’s rotating crews, were disciplined.

Naval officials considered several methods of getting the Fort Worth back to San Diego for what was expected to be a major overhaul, and eventually settled on having it travel the 7,800-mile distance on its turbine engines. That option would have required a fleet tanker to accompany the LCS in order to keep the fuel-hungry engines running.

Defense News reported that technicians reinspected the propulsion system and found the damage to its more efficient diesel engines wasn’t as bad as they first thought.

“Technicians completed repairs to damaged combining gears on USS Fort Worth in port at Changi Naval Base in Singapore this week,” said Lt. Clint Ramsden, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. “Both main propulsion diesel engines were also restored to service, allowing Fort Worth to get underway from Singapore later this summer and transit across the Pacific with the use of both diesel and gas turbine engines.”

The Fort Worth is now expected to leave Singapore in mid- to late- August, after a series of inspections and some crew training are complete, according to the publication. The LCS will go in for a previously scheduled maintenance period after it arrives in San Diego.

–City News Service

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