USS Zumwalt a $ 4 Billion Frigate is Plagued by Problems
USS Zumwalt is a nuclear powered frigate and a state of art warship but it has run into snags and breakdown in the Panama Canal is ominous.
USS Zumwalt named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt is the most modern destroyer of the US fleet. It’s a stealth warship that has cost upward of $ 4 billion and that’s a lot of money. The warship has been plagued by snags and the last one was pretty major. Certainly not expected from a state of art warship with nuclear propulsion and latest weaponry and NAV facilities.
The warship sailed through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific for sea trials. The Panama Canal is a little peculiar as it connects the Caribbean to the Pacific and the levels of the two sea is different. There is thus a system of locks which allow a ship to enter lock till its water level is raised or lowered and then goes on to the next lock.
The Zumwalt lost power in one of the locks and the ship stalled. It hit the side of the lock and its hull is damaged. We understand it will take 10 days to repair the ship. Earlier the ship had a water leak in its engines. The problem was rectified but this accident in the Panama Canal is cause for worry.
Not Battle Ready
The Zumwalt is not yet battle ready and it will take another2 years before it is passed for combat and deployment. But these two accidents show the multi-billion dollar war vessel has snags aplenty. More so a breakdown of the engine cannot be accepted. God forbid if there was a loss of power on the high sea? It could lead to catastrophic. The actual battle trials will commence once everything else is in order. One will have to wait for it.
The Zumwalt is part of 3 similar warships ordered by the navy but now there may be a rethink about the ship as its ROI as a battle warship is in some doubt. The Zumwalt is a destroyer and displaces over 7500 tons, but it has a lean crew as most of the functions are automated. The warship is nuclear-propelled and it carries anti-shipping and air to sea and air to surface missiles. Each missile fired from the Zumwalt also runs into millions of dollars and thus the battleship is costly to maintain.
However, it was expected to add beef and muscle to the US fleet and one hopes the snags will be rectified. In the meantime, this accident will be worrisome to the navy.