The Navy’s $4 Billion Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer Broke Down Again

Kirsten Lee — Foxtrot Alpha.com Nov 22, 2016

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo, the future USS Zumwalt heads down the Kennebec River after leaving Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, on it's way to be commissioned. The Zumwalt, the most expensive destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy, suffered an engineering problem in the Panama Canal Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, and had to be towed to port. Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry said a vice admiral has directed the ship to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address the issues. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The U.S.S. Zumwalt. Click to enlarge

The Navy’s new stealth destroyer, the U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG-1000) looks like something out of a science-fiction film and has some gnarly firepower. But, like a normal boat, it, too, is capable of breaking down and needing a tow.

On Monday night, the $4 billion high-tech destroyer was passing through the Panama Canal, on its way to its new homeport in San Diego, when it suffered an engineering casualty, reports Defense News. From there, it needed to be towed through the Miraflores locks at the Pacific end of the canal.

The Zumwalt is now stopped at the former U.S. Naval Station Rodman for repairs, reports USNI News. It is unclear how long this will take. USNI writes,

The ship lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit and the crew saw water intrusion in both of Zumwalt’s Advanced Induction Motors (AIMs) – the massive electrical motors that are driven by the ship’s gas turbines and in turn electrically power the ship’s systems.

The ship made minor contact with lock walls in the canal resulting in minor cosmetic damage. Following the transit, the Navy determined the ship couldn’t continue to its new homeport at Naval Station San Diego without additional repairs.

This comes only a few months after another breakdown, in which a seawater leak sprang in the ship’s auxiliary motor drive oil system. That took about two weeks to fix.

The Zumwalt is the Navy’s newest and most advanced surface warfare ship (currently with a guy named Capt. James Kirk at the helm, incredibly), and one packed with experimental technology and weapons. It runs on only about half the number of sailors who have crewed other destroyers. There’s a lot riding on this thing, which makes the leaks and engineering maladies worrisome.

But hey, maybe it’s all pedestrian stuff. The Zumwalt will make it to San Diego come hell or high water. Let’s just hope nothing more serious happens after this incident.

 

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