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article image$4.4 billion USS Zumwalt breaks down in the Panama Canal

By Jack Derricourt     Nov 23, 2016 in Technology
The most expensive destroyer in U.S. history broke down in the Panama Canal on Monday. Dead in the water, the USS Zumwalt had to be towed back to port.
The over 4.4 billion dollar destroyer hit a big snag in its travel plans this week. While exiting the Panama Canal, the ship lost propulsion and collided with the walls of the lock, causing minor cosmetic damage. After construction and testing out of Bath Iron Work in Maine, the Zumwalt was scheduled to reach San Diego by year’s end, to join naval operations in the Pacific. The loss of propulsion as the destroyer left the canal has led the admiralty to cease any travel plans, keeping the Zumwalt in Panama to try and figure out the issue.
Commander Perry, spokesman for the Third Fleet issued the following statement concerning the need for repairs:
“Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, US Third Fleet, has directed USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address engineering issues that occurred while transiting the Panama Canal. The timeline for repairs is being determined now, in direct coordination with Naval Sea Systems and Naval Surface Forces. The schedule for the ship will remain flexible to enable testing and evaluation in order to ensure the ship's safe transit to her new homeport in San Diego.”
Only commissioned back in October, the ship is an attempt by naval engineers and shipbuilders to push the technological envelope and exhibit many firsts for a U.S. destroyer. Digital Journal provided a complete breakdown of the Zumwalt’s technology following its initial launch. Most notably, the ship uses an integrated power system, with a propulsion system that is entirely electric, powered by gas turbines. This makes the Zumalt crew’s reports of water entering the bearings in that electric propulsion system all the more troubling.
This isn’t the first time the Zumwalt has had issues. Back in September, a seawater leak was found in an auxiliary propulsion system. The ship’s impressive main battery gun is, in its current form, a bust due to the one million dollar cost for each round of ammunition. The class of warships was reduced to a lonely group of three, and at this rate, it’s looking more and more likely that the Zumwalt and its fellows will end up being an expensive experiment and little else.
More about USS Zumwalt, Us navy, Panama canal, Destroyer
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