|On Thursday the $4.4 billion Zumwalt berthed at Pier 12 of the San Diego Naval Base. Serenaded by a Navy band, more than 500 family members waited on the Zumwalt and its 147-member crew.|
Its journey to San Diego wasn’t easy. The Zumwalt broke down twice — once off the coast of Virginia and then again when it transited the Panama Canal. The warship required weeks of repairs to the lubrication systems that cool its propulsion shafts. The Zumwalt needs at least one more year of work in dock before it’s ready for combat.
|USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is a guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy. She is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class. The ship has stealth capabilities, having a radar cross-section akin to a fishing boat despite her large size. The ship was commissioned in Baltimore on 15 October 2016.|
The ship is about 185 metres long but has the radar signature of a vessel a twelfth of its size, thanks to a unique angular hull that obscures its guns, radar systems and sensors from detection. It treads quietly through the water. The warship is the most expensive destroyer in the history of the U.S. Navy, costing about US$4.4 billion.
|Zumwalt-class ships carry advanced, high energy weapons. Specifically 'Long Range Land Attack Projectiles' or LRLAP. The advanced gun system was built to rapidly and precisely strike targets more than 110 kilometres away. The tests of the weapon showed promise. But there is a problem with LRLAP: The $800,000 price tag on a single shot of the GPS-guided, rocket-propelled ammunition.|
Fully stocked, the ship would carry 600 rounds of LRLAP ammunition.
|The $800,000 price tag is close to that of a $1 million-per-shot Tomahawk cruise missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and traveling more than 1,600 kilometres.|
The Navy’s initial plan, when it began developing the warships, was to build 32 of the Zumwalt-class vessels. But as costs exploded, the program shrunk from 24 ships to seven and, ultimately, the current plan of three ships.