There are dozens of closed circuit television cameras positioned throughout the ship to monitor the condition of the spaces, as well as alarms that can indicate a problem.
The engineering spaces are unmanned, but roving watch standers pass through all the spaces on a regular basis. They might see, hear or smell something that isn’t quite right, and report it.
LCS was designed to be optimally manned. That means a small crew. “The core crew was always advertised as 40 people,” Desmond said. “But after trial and error, the LCS program decided we needed to have some plus ups in some areas that might have been lacking to help out with that fatigue issue. We had a 3-section watch for quite a while, but we’ve recently gone to a 4-section watch.”
Desmond says the food is great. “I think we have some of the best culinary specialists in the Navy. They’ve done a fantastic job. Their initial goal was to make sure that everyone gained 15 pounds on the deployment.”
Fort Worth has a pair of Rolls-Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two 16-cylinder Fairbanks Morse – Colt-Pielstick PA6B STC engines for propulsion, along with four Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel generators for electrical power.
“We only have one option, and that is to go portside to the oiler. It’s a smooth process. We have some very talented ship handlers. The only issue we’ve seen so far is the ship is so light that some of the oilers tension the span wire and they pull on us, and it throws us a little off balance. That, and the availability of the oiler, of course.”
Desmond said Fort Worth has “fantastic engines.”
“Our main source of propulsion under normal circumstances, depending on what we need as far as ship speed, are our main propulsion diesel engines. We have two of them. And they’re located in the main machinery room. If we need to go faster, we will use the gas turbine engines, as well, or in lieu of the main propulsion diesel engines.”
“We can use any combination of main propulsion diesel engines and gas turbines, and then the boost jets and the steerable jets. Based on what configuration you have there, you can move all the way up to full CODAG, which is Combined Diesel and Gas turbine. And top speed is above 40 knots. The reason we don’t use the gas turbines all the time is because of fuel consumption. We only can carry about 120,000 gallons of propulsion fuel. The gas turbines are very reliable Rolls-Royce engines, but fuel consumption is pretty significant. If we had an oiler to UNREP every couple days, then it wouldn’t be a problem,” said Desmond. “We just don’t have that luxury.”
Fort Worth has a single refueling station for underway replenishment. “We only have one option, and that is to go portside to the oiler. It’s a smooth process. We have some very talented ship handlers. The only issue we’ve seen so far is the ship is so light that some of the oilers tension the span wire and they pull on us, and it throws us a little off balance. That, and the availability of the oiler, of course. As far as the ship’s handling and ability to conduct the unreps, it’s actually a lot of fun. We’ve been very fortunate the last few times because the seas have been very generous,” said Desmond.
“Warfighting first” and the importance of having an offensive lethal capability means the Fort Worth crew exercises at least some weapon every day.
Both variants of LCS are armed with the BAE Systems Bofors Mk 110 57mm gun, which uses the 3-P (pre-fragmented programmable proximity fuzed) ammunition.