The US Navy’s second $7.5 billion Zumwalt-class destroyer arrived in Maine from at-sea testing in need of another $20 million engine to replace one that sustained damage during the tests, the Portland Press Herald reported Thursday.
For reference, the US Navy’s first Ford-class supercarrier was projected to cost around $10 billion, though cost overruns eventually put the USS Gerald Ford’s total price at around $13 billion. Now, the destroyer Michael Monsoor will need a new engine before it can sail from Maine to San Diego, California, for “combat system activation,” USNI News reported July 11.
“Regrettably, coming off her acceptance trials we found a problem with one of the main turbine engines that drives one of the main generators,” US Navy Admiral William Galinis told reporters in Bath, Maine, Wednesday.
The broken engine was actually discovered in post-cleaning inspection in February 2018, according to Naval Sea Systems Command. However, the process of putting a new engine into the ship has taken months longer than expected since engineers had to develop a special rail system to extract the defective engine and install the new one.
According to the US Naval Institute’s news service USNI News, the US Navy plans to pay for the new Rolls Royce-built MT30 marine gas turbine engine unless further inspections determine that the engine itself was at fault and not damaged by the ship, in which case the Navy might try to recoup some of the costs from Rolls Royce.
In December 2017, the Monsoor had to return to port after just one day at sea as a result of an electrical system failure. The US Navy originally planned to buy 32 Zumwalt-class destroyers before terminating future procurements in the face of ballooning costs and mechanical issues. When all is said in done, the three ships had cost approximately $22 billion as of April 2015, and the third Zumwalt destroyer still has yet to finish construction.
The engine problem hasn’t appeared in any other Zumwalt ships, though they have encountered other technical problems. In November 2016, the namesake Zumwalt broke down in the lower half of the Panama Canal while making a trip from Maine to San Diego.