US Navy’s Zumwalt Class of Destroyers are known for their innovative design. Billions of dollars have gone into research to develop these ships that will ensure US supremacy over the oceans. But the project from the very beginning has faced one hurdle after another.
A major scare was raised for the whole project when US Rear Admiral William Gallinis revealed in his interview to United States Naval Institute (USNI) news that first Zumwalt Class destroyer suffered an irreparable engine broke down during its acceptance trials. According to NavalTechnology.com each engine of the stealthy destroyer costs about $ 20 million.
The destroyer USS Michael Monsoor had to return to the shipyard after one of its Rolls-Royce MT30 marine gas turbine engines suffered a damage. The engine will have to be replaced.
“Regrettably, coming off her acceptance trials we found a problem with one of the main turbine engines that drives one of the main generators. We’re having to change it out,” Rear Adm. William Galinis said.
Michael Monsoor has experienced other setbacks also before. In December last year, it experienced problems with its electrical system and had to come back for repairs.
Though US Navy has necessary wherewithal and experience to overcome any such problems in the long run, but still it has caused considerable consternation to people who avidly follow US Navy and its latest technological ventures.
The stealthy Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer is the poster child of US Navy. But it had to face flak for one reason after the other. It was reported to be using highly expensive ammunition. The Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) rounds were originally designed to cost a mere $50,000 each, according to preliminary estimates in 2001. But the price for each round of ordnance shot up to $800,000 by 2016. With the impressive rate of fire of the ship’s guns, a single Zumwalt destroyer is able to spend 1/600 of the US Department of Defense’s entire operating budget in the course of just one hour.
Each Zumwalt Class Destroyer costs $4.24 billion as of 2016 whereas total project cost incurred till financial year 2015 was $22.5 billion. Originally 32 such destroyers had been planned but now US Navy in all likelihood will ply only 3.