US Littoral Combat Ship launches with Ezy-Fit R&D and Supply

Austal USA delivered the first of their Littoral Combat Ship design, USS Independence, in December 2009 and it was commissioned by the US Navy in April 2010.

Some years earlier, Austal Ships requested Ezy-Fit to design the Main Ride Control cylinders for the vessel, taking into account the huge slam induced internal pressures they would have to withstand. The material also needed to be extremely tough in regard to impact strength across a very low to very high ambient and operating temperature requirement set out by the Classification Society.

There was also a condition for a very high duty cycle and cylinder speed, far beyond the usual scope of commercially available seals. All these factors had to be taken into account and after a year of R&D, materials testing and seal type experimentation Ezy-Fit finally submitted a design to Austal and ABS which passed design approval on the first application. The cylinders were subsequently built and tested and proved to be amply suitable for the job, meeting or exceeding all acceptance criteria.

A similar situation arose simultaneously for supply of the LCS Interceptor cylinders and the design of these followed the R&D of the main ride control cylinders. However, there was a major difference in the location of the Interceptor cylinders, being situated outside the hull directly on the waterline. This raised major concerns due to surface tension DC current causing accelerated galvanic corrosion to the cylinder, with the greatest concern being the longevity of the piston rod and resultant seal life expectancy.

This problem was solved by careful choice of materials with great care being given to keeping all materials within close confines on the Galvanic Series. Cathodic protection was also employed and these cylinders have been in operation for some years with no corrosion problems being observed.