MELBOURNE, Australia — The U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship Coronado has successfully conducted an expeditionary preventive maintenance availability while on a scheduled port visit to Vietnam, in a demonstration of its ability to conduct maintenance while deployed.
According to a news release from the U.S. Navy's Task Force 73, the Coronado visited Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, from June 11-15 as part of a technical visit to an international port, and the visit marks the first demonstration of expeditionary maintenance capabilities for the rotationally deployed Independence-class LCS.
According to CTF 73, contractors and ship personnel executed more than 450 preventive maintenance requirements while the LCS was at Cam Ranh Bay, and the ship maintenance staff from Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific coordinated closely with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, contractors and local authorities to conduct maintenance at a location outside of the normal LCS supply and maintenance hub.
"The Littoral Combat Ship was built with agility in mind, so the more flexible we can be with our expeditionary maintenance, the higher the state of readiness, and we get these ships out to sea and on mission for longer periods of time," said Cmdr. Fernando Maldonado, assistant chief of staff for ship maintenance and repair on the Coronado.
Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific and Task Force 73, added: "This technical visit advances our expeditionary maintenance capabilities and further strengthens our partnership with Vietnam.
"Technical visits benefit both nations and increase our geographic flexibility in repairing and maintaining a high state of readiness in our ships. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Vietnam and look forward to working together to enhance stability and create mutually beneficial relationships."
The Coronado is currently on a rotational deployment to Singapore, which also serves as the maintenance and logistics hub from which the ship will conduct patrols and train with regional navies during exercises like Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. These deployments also seek to establish and prove the LCS concept of operations. The ship arrived in Singapore in November 2016 for a deployment that is expected to last 16 months.
Singapore has agreed to allow the U.S. Navy to rotationally station up to four littoral combat ships in Singapore's Changi Naval Base, with the Coronado being the third, as well as the first Independence-class LCS to be rotationally deployed to Singapore since the U.S. Navy LCS Freedom made the maiden deployment in 2013. Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, CTF 73's public affairs officer, told Defense News that deployments of "multiple LCS" in Singapore will start in 2018.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.