U.S. Navy’s New High Tech Destroyer Suffers ‘Engineering Casualty’

160421-N-YE579-005 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 21, 2016) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016 with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of DDG 1000, the future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) May 20, 2016. Following a crew certification period and October commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Zumwalt will transit to its homeport in San Diego for a Post Delivery Availability and Mission Systems Activation. DDG 1000 is the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, tailored for land attack and littoral dominance. (U.S. Navy/Released)
The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016. U.S. Navy File Photo

The U.S. Navy’s new high tech destroyer has been sidelined for repairs after suffering a seawater leak in its propulsion system less than a month before its expected commissioning.

The U.S. Navy confirmed via a statement to USNI News that the future USS Zumwalt, the largest and most technologically advanced destroyer ever built for the Navy, suffered the engineering casualty that could take up to two weeks to repair.

The fault was discovered during at sea testing on September 19.

“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,” U.S. Naval Surface Forces said in a statement to USNI News. “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 future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) arrived into Naval Station Norfolk last week for a port visit and more sea trials after its construction was completed at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine. USS Zumwalt is scheduled to be formally commissioned during Fleet Week Maryland in Baltimore, October 15.

USNI News reports that Zumwalt is expected to undergo repairs at Naval Station Norfolk, which are estimated to take 10 days and up to two weeks. The repairs are not expected to impact the commissioning of the vessel as planned, the report said.

Although it is normal for issues to arise during pre-commissioning tests, the incident comes after the Navy ordered an “engineering stand down” for all crews assigned to the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ships following multiple recent engineering casualties aboard the Freedom-class LCS’. The stand down was ordered so that crews could review procedures and standards to ensure they are “fully prepared” to operate the ships safely.

After commissioning the USS Zumwalt is expected to make its 3-month journey to its new homeport in San Diego.

The USS Zumwalt is rumored to have cost close to $4 billion. It is one of three planned ships in the Navy’s $22 billion, next-generation Zumwalt destroyer program.