Washington | America’s newest warship, the super high-tech USS Zumwalt, broke down in the Panama Canal just a few weeks after the vessel was commissioned, the Navy and reports said on Tuesday.
The guided missile destroyer, whose stealth capabilities give it a strikingly angular shape, needed to be towed yesterday to a nearby former US naval station after suffering an “engineering casualty”, the US Naval Institute’s news site reported.
The Zumwalt was en route from Baltimore, where she was commissioned on October 15, to San Diego.
Navy spokesman Commander Ryan Perry said in a statement that “the timeline for repairs is being determined now”.
“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,” Perry said.
An unnamed defense official told USNI News that repairs to the Zumwalt could take up to 10 days.
The USD 4.3 billion Zumwalt is the first in a new line of revolutionary guided missile destroyers.
The ship is 600 feet (roughly 180 metres) long and weighs nearly 15,000 tons, making it the largest destroyer in the US fleet.
But thanks to its angled hull and deck house, it is designed to look no bigger than a fishing boat on radar.
Its motors are electric powered, driven by an innovative integrated power system that may one day also support an array of energy-intensive weapons like lasers and electromagnetic rail guns.