The Navy has accepted delivery of a next-generation stealth destroyer more than three years after its commissioning, the service announced Friday.
The destroyer Zumwalt has a working combat system and will move onto a new phase of developmental and sea testing, according to a news release from Naval Sea Systems Command. The ship was commissioned in 2016 and broke down a month later while passing through the Panama Canal.
The $4 billion ship has since faced other delays and cost overruns.
Navy officials are calling the delivery a “major milestone” for the Zumwalt, known as DDG 1000.
“The combat test team, consisting of … sailors, Raytheon engineers, and Navy field activity teams, have worked diligently to get USS Zumwalt ready for more complex, multi-mission at-sea testing,” Capt. Kevin Smith, a program manager with the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships, said in a statement. “I am excited to begin demonstrating the performance of this incredible ship.”
The Navy cut its original plans to buy more than two dozen of the new ships down to three. The Government Accountability Office last year slammed the Navy for ongoing problems with the 155mm deck guns that were planned for the Zumwalt-class destroyers.
In development, the service found the cost for a single round for the guns was about $800,000, leaving it essentially inoperable.
The Navy in 2018 changed the destroyers’ primary mission from land attack to offensive surface strike. Modifications needed to make that switch cost about $1 billion, the GAO noted.
The Zumwalt is joining the U.S. Pacific Fleet and can officially count toward the Navy’s ship totals. Its shape, structure and antenna arrangements “significantly reduce radar cross section, making the ship less visible” to enemies, according to the release.
“Every day the ship is at sea, the officers and crew learn more about her capability, and can immediately inform the continued development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to not only integrate Zumwalt into the fleet, but to advance the Navy’s understanding of operations with a stealth destroyer,” said Capt. Andrew Carlson, the Zumwalt’s commanding officer.
The second of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, the Michael Monsoor, is homeported in San Diego and is undergoing combat systems activation. The third and final ship of the class, the future Lyndon B. Johnson, is under construction in Maine.
— Richard Sisk contributed to this report.
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