CORRECTION: A previous version of this post indicated that guided missile destroyer USS Zumwalt was underway following repairs in Panama. In fact, the ship has completed repairs and shifted berths from former U.S. Naval Station Rodman to Balboa, Panama.
THE PENTAGON — USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is preparing to leave port following several days of repairs after breaking down in the Panama Canal, service officials told USNI News on Wednesday.
The guided missile destroyer left former U.S. Naval Station Rodman on Wednesday morning and shifted berths to Balboa, Panama after the ship suffered an engineering failure on Nov. 21. that locked both the port and starboard shafts that forced the ship to transit the canal maneuvered by tugs.
The crew discovered bearings that connect the ship’s Advanced Induction Motors to the drive shafts had been contaminated by seawater leaking from failed lube oil chillers. The ship suffered a similar casualty in September causing the Zumwalt to be sidelined for several days at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
In the September instance, the Navy replaced the affected lube oil coolers using replacements from under-construction Zumwalt-class Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) and the Navy’s land-based test site for the ship’s electric integrated power system in Philadelphia. It is yet unclear to what the root cause is for the damage in both instances. A message left with Naval Sea Systems Command by USNI News was not immediately returned.
The power system is among the most complex and complicated propulsion and power systems in the Navy that uses gas turbines to power the induction motors that in turn provide massive amounts of electricity to the rest of the ship’s systems and drive train.
Extensive testing of IPS at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works yard was a major factor in the ship’s delay in delivering on time.
Now operational in the Pacific, Zumwalt is now set to travel to its new homeport in San Diego after a planned port visit in Mexico.
Zumwalt is the first of three in the $22-billion class. Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) and Lyndon B. Johnson are currently under construction at BIW.