Sep. 17, 2012 - By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS Defense News
The new amphibious transport dock ship Anchorage (LPD 23) was accepted by the Navy Sept. 17 after a brief, two-day underway period to check fixes and corrections that delayed completion by almost two months.
Although the ship ran acceptance sea trials in mid-June — characterized by several Navy officials as revealing a “normal” amount of deficiencies — an issue with improperly installed bolts came to light in mid-July. Discovered only days before the ship’s planned July 23 delivery date, the problem affected bolts that hold the frames for the ship’s main propulsion engines to the hull.
The problem was discovered by an Avondale shipyard inspector who noticed the improper bolt installations on the Somerset, a ship of the same class that is in a later stage of construction. Further inspections were ordered on the Anchorage, where similar problems were discovered.
The problems now have been corrected, according to the Naval Sea Systems Command.
In a Sept. 17 statement, the command said that Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) — the parent company of Avondale — “completed all work related to fitted bolt inspection and replacement, as required, at the end of August.
“Of the 361 bolts inspected, 278 were accepted and 83 were replaced. A successful post-repair trial, which included full power ahead and astern runs to demonstrate propulsion plant alignment, was conducted September 12-13.
“Regarding root cause, the bolts were fitted properly but did not have the correct thread engagement and relief cuts to meet the ship’s underwater shock requirements. The root cause of the deficiency was HII’s Avondale facility not following proper work procedures when fabricating the bolts.”
The Anchorage is the seventh ship of 11 planned for the LPD 17 San Antonio-class. With a displacement of 25,883 tons at full load, the ships are among the largest LPD-type ships in the world, able to carry and operate a variety of aircraft, landing craft, tanks and vehicles, and more than 700 Marines.
The Anchorage is the penultimate ship to be built at the Avondale shipyard near New Orleans. Parent company Huntington Ingalls Industries will shutter the facility after the delivery next year of the Somerset, and all further LPDs will be built at the company’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.
The big amphib’s sailaway date — when the ship leaves the shipyard for the last time — now is scheduled to take place Oct. 24, just over a month after the originally planned date. While the Anchorage will be based at San Diego, her commissioning ceremony in the spring will take place at her namesake city in Alaska.