Ship maintenance

GAO Report on Coastal Combatant Maintenance

The following is the Government Accountability Office, Littoral Combat Ship, April 29, 2021 report: Unplanned Work on Maintenance Contracts Creates Schedule Risk as Ships Begin Operations.

From the report

What GAO found

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a class of small surface ships with two unique design variations. Both variants of the LCS carry smaller crews and rely more on contractors for maintenance than any other Navy vessel. While this strategy was aimed at reducing operating costs, it contributes to the challenges of the Navy’s strategy for contracted maintenance. Specifically:

Displacement of the contractor. US law states that foreign contractors generally cannot perform certain types of LCS maintenance. As a result, the Navy pays for contractors to travel overseas on a regular basis to perform routine maintenance. GAO’s sample of 18 delivery notes showed estimated travel costs for the orders reviewed ranged from a few thousand dollars to over $ 1 million.

Heavy dependence on original equipment manufacturers. LCS includes many commercial systems that are not used on other Navy ships. However, the Navy lacks sufficient technical data from the manufacturer to maintain many of these systems. This can result in longer maintenance periods due to the additional coordination required by manufacturers to help or complete the job.

Although the Navy is establishing crews of its personnel to perform routine maintenance, contractors will continue to do some of this work.

The Navy is beginning to implement contractual approaches for LCS maintenance to help mitigate schedule risks, while taking steps to avoid it in the future. The GAO discovered in the 18 LCS maintenance delivery orders it reviewed that the Navy had to contract for more repair work than originally planned, increasing the risk of completing LCS maintenance in the future. time limit. The majority of this unscheduled work took place because the Navy did not fully understand the condition of the vessel before starting maintenance. The Navy began taking steps to systematically collect and analyze maintenance data to determine the causes of unscheduled work, which could help it plan maintenance more accurately. The Navy has also recently started to apply certain contracting approaches to integrate unplanned work more quickly and mitigate schedule risk, such as (1) setting a price for low value unplanned work to save negotiation time and (2) directly procure certain materials instead. to wait for entrepreneurs to do so. Such measures will be important in controlling costs and risks associated with the schedule as additional LCSs enter the fleet in the years to come.

Download the document here.

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