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More engine issues mar Zumwalt's transit to San Diego

24 November 2016
Zumwalt is shown here pierside just before its 15 October commissioning, after suffering a 19 September engineering casualty during preparations to get under way. Source: US Navy

A series of engine problems has hindered USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) on its maiden transit from the US East Coast to the ship's designated West Coast homeport of San Diego, requiring the ship to be towed through the Panama Canal, US Navy (USN) officials told IHS Jane's.

The ship is now being held in Panama as the USN and contractors try to fix the engineering problems, service officials said on 22 November. As of this writing it was unclear what was wrong with the vessel, which is the lead ship in a class of three next-generation multimission destroyers.

Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, commander of US Third Fleet, has directed Zumwalt "to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address engineering issues that occurred while transiting the Panama Canal", Commander Clayton Doss, a USN spokesman, told IHS Jane's .

"The timeline for repairs is being determined now, in direct co-ordination with Naval Sea Systems and Naval Surface Forces," Cdr Doss said. "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 homeport in San Diego."

In San Diego, the ship is scheduled to conduct combat system testing and certification before being deployed to the Western Pacific.

Pacific Command (PACOM) officials remain enthusiastic about the ship's entrance to the region, despite the engineering issues. "As with all first-of-class ships, the navy will have some kinks to work out," PACOM commander Admiral Harry Harris told IHS Jane's.

This could prove especially true with Zumwalt, with its heavy reliance on electric power generated by the USN's first integrated power system, anchored by two main turbine generators, two auxiliary turbine generators, and two advanced induction motors. The plant can generate up to 78 MW of electricity.

In the future, the navy plans to tap the extra power to put lasers, railguns, and other technologically advanced firepower on the ship.

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