US Navy’s priciest destroyer ever built suffers engineering casualty

Sailors aboard USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s next-generation stealth destroyer, found a fault in the ship’s engineering plant while the ship was in Norfolk, navy officials told to USNI News.

Zumwalt was conducting weapons testing and training en route to its San Diego homeport when the engineering casualty was discovered.

“The crew discovered the casualty after detecting a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shafts. The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows this first-in-class ship to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, it was determined that the repairs should be completed in port prior to the ship transiting to sea,” the U.S. Navy told USNI News.

The issue might take up to two weeks to be fixed, it was further said.

It is not clear whether the engineering casualty will set back Zumwalt’s commissioning ceremony that was scheduled for October 15 in Baltimore. Following the commissioning, Zumwalt is set to continue its transit to San Diego where it will enter a post delivery availability and mission systems activation and is expected to be integrated into the fleet in 2018 following test and evaluation.

The lead ship in the class, USS Zumwalt is the first U.S. Navy combatant surface ship to utilize an integrated power system (IPS) to provide electric power for propulsion and ship services. According to the Navy, the new system generates approximately 78 megawatts of power.

Zumwalt is also larger than the current U.S. Navy destroyers measuring 610 feet in length and 80.7 in width. In comparison, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are 505 ft long and 66 ft wide.