$4.4 billion Navy warship conks out on the high seas

Laid down on Nov, 17, 2011, at a cost of $4.4 billion and commissioned in mid-October, the most expensive warship ever to enter service in the U.S. Navy, the USS Zumwalt, broke down while navigating its way through the Panama Canal on Monday.

After losing propulsion in its port shaft and taking on water in two of the ships four bearings which connect the drive shafts, tug boats were called to assist the disabled ship to the Vasco Núñez de Balboa Naval Base in Panama.

“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 home port in San Diego,” read a statement released by the U.S. Third Fleet.

Boasting a unique design, referred to as an angular shape, for stealth capabilities, the guided missile destroyer is able to project an image of a fishing boat to radar and its its weapon systems include anti-air, anti-sea and underwater defense systems.

The ship also harnesses an advanced gun system which is able to fire rocket-propelled projectiles in excess of 60 miles.

The lead ship in the new Zumwalt-class of guided missile destroyers, a second warship, the Michael Monsoor, was launched in June and a third, the Lyndon Johnson, is under construction.  29 other ships originally planned to complete the class were cancelled.


[Wall Street Journal] [Photo courtesy seeker401.wordpress.com]