The Navy is shaking down its first high-speed, high-tech, small-crew Littoral Combat Ship — and has run into (ahem) an interesting problem:
Another potential problem is the high speed of the LCS, which is the fastest seagoing ship to ever serve with the U.S. fleet. The USS Freedom has gone as fast as 85 kilometers an hour, and it’s believed that the power plant can be tweaked to get that a little higher. At such high speeds, it’s easier to run into whales. This occasionally happens, especially at night. For larger ships, the result is usually a dead, or badly injured whale, and little damage to the ship. But the smaller LCS, hitting a large whale, while travelling at high speed, could leave the ship damaged (the whale would definitely be dead.) So far, the sailors on the bridge are to keep a sharp lookout for whales when the ship is travelling at high speed.
It might not be an exaggeration to say that we’re one tragic accident away from a lawsuit that could scuttle the entire LCS project.