MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Navy ships built by Austal are being decommissioned after cracks were discovered in their hulls.
The Navy Times reported that the cracks were first found on the Coronado, a ship built in Mobile in 2014. The cracks began to surface only five years after it was made in 2019. About half of their “littoral combat ship fleet” have cracks on their hulls, according to the Navy Times.
The cracks resulted from structural defects, according to the Navy Times. Although the cracks are not a safety concern, The Navy Times reports that certain wave conditions combined with ship speed can cause the cracks to worsen. Austal has agreed to rebuild ships under construction or warrantee.
This is not the first time the U.S. Navy has had defective LCS ships. Nine LCS ships were set for decommissioning in April of 2022. The ships were a part of the Freedom-class warship, costing a total of $4.5 billion to build the entire fleet.
These ships built not built by Austal, but they were wrought with problems. Those commissioned in the early 2000s were designed to be fast warships, but ended up using too much gas and were not armored enough for combat.
Austal ships under construction or warranty will be rebuilt with different hulls, according to the Navy Times. The other service ship affected by the cracks will have to be decommissioned or undergo repairs by the U.S. Navy. While the cracks become more apparent, the Navy is still commissioning ships from Austal.
In May of 2022, Austal secured a $230.5 million contract with the U.S. Navy. Instead of commissioning LCS ships, the Navy is requesting an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship. Austal claims that their EPFs are high quality and delivered “on schedule and on budget.”
Three more are underway and in 2021, Austal was building several LCS ships for the Navy including the Canberra, Santa Barbara, Augusta and Kingsville.