Delivery Of Two US Zumwalt-Class Destroyers Is Postponed

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Delivery Of Two US Zumwalt-Class Destroyers Is Postponed

The guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) arrives at its new homeport in San Diego on Dec. 8, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Emiline L. M. Senn)

On August 21st, new ship-counting rules went into effect for the US Navy, postponing the 2 Zumwalt-class destroyers.

A provision of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2019 NDAA) went into effect, making it impossible for a ship to be  included in the Naval Vessel Register’s list of battle force ships until it has been fully delivered to the Navy – and in the case of ships with a phased delivery, where the Navy takes custody of the hull but adds in the combat system or electronics later, that means the final delivery date.

So, upon passage of the bill, Zumwalt-class destroyers USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and yet-to-be commissioned Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) were taken off the battle force ship count and will not be added back on until they complete a combat system activation in San Diego.

The Zumwalt was delivered to the Navy in May 2016 and was commissioned in October of the same year. It arrived in San Diego in December 2016 to begin its combat system activation, which takes approximately 18-month process.

The proposal for the change in when the delivery of a ship is deemed to occur initially happened in the FY 2017 NDAA. A Senate report, accompanying the FY 2017 NDAA stated the following:

“The committee notes that justification materials, which accompanied the President’s fiscal year 2016 and 2017 budgets, as well as Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports for the CVN-78 class aircraft carrier program, list the delivery date of USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) as June 2022. However, the Navy plans to deliver this ship in two phases. Phase I delivery, scheduled to complete in June 2022, will deliver the ship with full propulsion capability, aircraft launch and recovery systems, and safe to sail navigation systems. Phase II delivery, scheduled to complete in September 2024, will add the remaining electronics and ordnance equipment, including the Ship Self-Defense System, weapons systems, and Enterprise Air Search Radar. The committee believes CVN-79 delivery should be deemed to occur at the end of Phase II delivery,”

“Similarly, the committee understands all three ships in the Zumwalt-class will employ a dual delivery approach with hull, mechanical, and electrical (HM&E) systems delivery at the shipbuilder in Maine and combat systems activation in California. In the case of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), HM&E delivery is scheduled for 2016 and combat systems activation is scheduled for 2018. The committee notes the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget lists April 2016 as the delivery date. The committee believes Zumwalt-class delivery should be deemed to occur at the completion of the dual delivery approach, following combat systems activation,” the report continued.

On August 22nd, in response to the change in ship-counting Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas was cited by USNI News as saying “the Navy worked closely with Congress as the FY 2019 NDAA was being developed to ensure accurate characterization of the Zumwalt Class of ships (DDG 1000, DDG 1001, and DDG 1002) and CVN-79 and how these ships will be treated in the battle force count. Given the unique ‘phased-delivery’ of these four ships, the Navy will place them in a special status to reflect preliminary acceptance by the Navy from the shipbuilder, and then on completion of the mission systems and final delivery the Navy will count them in the battle force.”

The Zumwalt-class destroyers have had numerous problems with their commissioning. Shortly after it’s “delivery to the Navy”, prior to arriving in San Diego, on September 21st.  It happened following an incident after the ship’s transit from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Maine to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. in which the crew discovered “a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shafts.” The problem was discovered to be a leak in the lube oil coolers.

After it was commissioned on October 15th, 2016, the Zumwalt suffered additional unspecified engineering trouble. Following that, on November 22nd, the Zumwalt once more lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit through the Panama Canal. The crew saw water intrusion in two of the four bearings that connect to Zumwalt’s port and starboard Advanced Induction Motors (AIMs) to the drive shafts, as reported by Usni News, citing an unnamed defense official.

The USS Michael Monsoor, the second Zumwalt-class destroyer also had issues. On July 11th, 2018, Usni News reported that the destroyer will need to have a main turbine engine replaced after suffering damage to the turbine blades during acceptance trials.

“[R]egrettably, coming off her acceptance trials we found a problem with one of the main turbine engines that drives one of the main generators; we’re having to change it out,” Rear Admiral William Galinis was quoted as saying. “So we’re working very closely with Bath Iron Works, with Rolls-Royce to get that engine changed out before she leaves Bath later this fall and sails to San Diego to start her combat system activation availability next year.” The U.S. Navy accepted partial delivery of the Monsoor in late April following the completion of acceptance trials overseen by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey. The Monsoor is expected to become operational in late 2020 or early 2021.

The third Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Lyndon B. Johnson is still being built. The completion of the hull, mechanical and electrical components are expected to be finished by March 2020.

On May 24th, Fox News reported that due to skyrocketing costs to acquire ammunition for the “Advanced Gun Systems,” which were initially supposed to be equipped on the ships, the Navy has been forced to implement changes.

In an April report to Congress, Ronald O’Rourke, a specialist in naval affairs at the Congressional Research Service said In November 2016, it was reported that the Navy had decided to stop procuring LRLAP projectiles because the projected unit cost of each projectile had risen to at least $800,000. The Navy began exploring options for procuring a less expensive (and less capable) replacement munition.” He further said that in December 2017, the mission changed “to an emphasis on surface strike, meaning the use of missiles to attack surface ships and perhaps also land targets.”

The US Government Accountability Office, in its report in April 2018 said that on 5 of the 12 “critical technologies” needed for the ships to meet their intended design purposes were “fully matured.” It was planned for the ship to demonstrate most of its remaining technologies during post-delivery availability and combat systems activation.

“The program never really had a good business case from the beginning, so where we are at now isn’t a surprise,” Shelby Oakley, an acting director at the Government Accountability Office was cited by Fox News. She further commented that “You can’t do it all. You can’t have the technology move quickly and come at a low cost,” implying that the completion of the destroyers may need even more funding.

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  • AM Hants

    The video in this article, based on the new book ‘Compromise, How Money and Politics Drive FBI Corruption’, explains why the US is having so many problems producing weapons plus systems which actually work, come in on time, in full working order, plus, cost effective.

    Remember, US Defence Budget $717 billion, compared to the Russian Defence Budget of $47 billion.

    Seamus Bruner: Comey-Mueller ‘Cash in Through the Revolving Door’ of the Swamp… https://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2018/08/23/seamus-bruner-comey-mueller-cash-in-swamp/

    • Jesus

      Corruption at top levels is understandable, what is curious is the lack of engineering capability to design a reliable weapon system that fits the requested parameters of the armed forces. I have to conclude their engineering staff is over reliant on technology and is not able to think analytically on its own.

      In my field of engineering design, a saw human abilities deteriorate as technology took over, computers becoming more capable due to new software programs, whereby an engineer became a mere key board pusher, and was forced to attend endless and meaningless meetings.

      • AM Hants

        Good point with regards engineering. With Russia focusing on traditional education, leading to critical thought, the nation is abundant with engineers plus scientists, who are still engaged in creative genius. Sadly, they have dumbed down the education systems, so thoroughly in the West, removing units that lead to critical thought, replacing them with social sciences, they have removed the genius of creativity. Plus, removed the skills which make the most of engineering and scientific thought and more importantly creativity. Replacing them with accountants and lawyers.

        • Jesus

          The damming down of western cultures through social engineering, and extreme reliance on technology has many adverse effects.
          In the US, until 20 years ago you needed human skills to perform your job, using engineering concepts, calculations, metal forming techniques…etc, to do your job.
          With the emphasis on technology these skills were gradually taken over by sophisticated software programs that dammed down the work force, especially the younger generation. This was done also on the basis of being able to take the skill set in the computer and send it to China, India or wherever else, so the companies could pay 10 or 20% of what they were paying in the US.
          That’s why present day engineering skills in the US are at best mediocre, with a generation that expects the computer to do their thinking, unable to step forward and develop creative concepts.

          Present day ineptitude in US society is expressed when people do all their shopping online, not willing to go to the supermarkets and figure out the staples they need to buy for their meals…..everything has to be convenient not further than the push of a button.

          • AM Hants

            It is not just the US. When we let the asset strippers into the UK, the same thing happened.

          • FlorianGeyer

            Yes, the main business’s that they did enable were ‘Strippers writhing around on shiny poles ‘. :)

          • Jesus

            England had asset strippers since early 19th century, globalization is a more recent day phenomena, and outsourcing has been the main economic tool used by US economy for the last 3-4 decades.

        • FlorianGeyer

          Don’t forget the tens of thousands of NHS Managers as well AM :)
          And the patients who literally die of thirst and hunger as some nurses are too ‘well qualified’ to feed them when the patients are too ill to move .

          • AM Hants

            The NHS Managers and how many came in, with no experience of health care? I could rant 24/7, with regards the destruction of the NHS.

          • FlorianGeyer

            A cynic would say that the Health Service is being intentionally demolished so that the public will demand a takeover by private health companies from the USA.

        • frankly

          Still the MSM ranting about the Russian threat has obviously not created a sense of urgency within the patriotic community. If they felt truly threatened their main motivation would not stem from greed, but a sense of impending doom. Somehow it is understandable that the Russians feel threatened, they clearly are.

  • Rodger

    $800.000,- a round when you can probably buy cruise missiles for the same price. :’)

    • Empire’s Frontiers

      The trouble is that when you buy something that works you might have to use it to replace it.

      Here, they can just keep the spin-cycle running.

  • Jesus

    “””Congressional Research Service said In November 2016, it was reported that the Navy had decided to stop procuring LRLAP projectiles because the projected unit cost of each projectile had risen to at least $800,000. ”””

    The “Advanced gun system” is a 155mm gun that fires these LRLAP projectiles that are rocket assisted and supposedly have a range of a little over 100 miles, finding their targets using GPS.
    This is a classic case of over engineering a weapon system for money, not because it produces a superior weapon system. A torpedo, a swarm of Oniks, Kalibr, Khinzhal, KH32….etc, will render this destroyer and its weapon systems totally useless.

    • Rodger

      And Russia has already demonstrated they can spoof GPS.

      • Jesus

        Russian EW is their secret weapon, yea they can spoof GPS and other things.

  • John

    This model is such a dog. I don’t even like reading about it, unless I am in the mood for dark humor. Look at the way the side plating looks. There is no smoothness at all. This is supposed to be radar defeating? How do the 155mm guns compare with the new generation of anti-ship missiles. This thing can literally be blown up a thousand miles out of range of it’s targets.

    The only things it is good for is putting the lives of it’s crew in imminent danger and wasting taxpayer dollars by the train load. This program was somebody’s dream, from a long ended period of fantasy planning. It is amazing that the project is still going. Worse, it is absolute proof that the US MIC has a mind of it’s own, which is completely disconnected from reality. God help us. I wish well to all, especially the crews on those sitting ducks.

  • frankly

    “The program never really had a good business case from the beginning, so where we are at now isn’t a surprise,” Somehow the reality that the end users might wind up dead if this equipment does not perform as advertised, seems a minor detail to those making the money. Especially when no matter which side wins you will profit and be safely protected from any fallout. Almost a given that the contract to replace equipment lost due to the inevitable conclusion of “operator error”, will be yours as well. Poetic justice, or criminal genocide, its just a matter of perspective. In this business no one writes a bad check to your law firm.

    It’s like putting our International Defense Policy in the hands of those who finance the “White Helmets”, what could go wrong? When your business model is designed around death, you always win, no matter who dies.

    As the hordes of refugees slowly trickle back to their homes, except the vile ones who are not welcome anywhere. Will the EU credit F.uk.us and co conspirators, who showed no ability to stem the flow. Or will the sudden reversal of ISIS fortunes get connected to the Russian’s intervention in 15′?

    Somehow, I am old fashioned, actual results impress me more than fancy PR. A live shot of bus loads going to Idlib is progress. A file photo or two and a few paragraphs about the latest FSA conquest over Daesh, east of the Euphrates, isn’t. Really, still don’t have a handle on them?

    The sad part for me is that it is hard to picture this ending without a whole lot more mayhem. In a way the collapse of the USSR had a certain peaceful dignity. The US has way too many drama queens, I am gonna pray it ends quietly. We can hope the demoralizing affect of fake weapons plays some role in the quiet end to this long legacy of deceit.

  • FlorianGeyer

    This is just more creative accounting for a pile of scrap.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/Cerberus_2007.JPG/1280px-Cerberus_2007.JPG

    And this will be the fate of the US navy Zumwalt-class destroyers . All they will destroy is the tax dollars of the American people :)

    “HMVS Cerberus (Her Majesty’s Victorian Ship) is a breastwork monitor that served in the Victoria Naval Forces, the Commonwealth Naval Forces (CNF), and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) between 1871 and 1924.

    Built for the colony of Victoria under the supervision of Charles Pasley,[1] Cerberus was completed in 1870, and arrived in Port Phillip in 1871, where she spent the rest of her career. The monitor was absorbed into the CNF following Federation in 1901, and was renamed HMAS Cerberus when the navy became the RAN in 1911. By World War I, Cerberus’ weapons and boilers were inoperable; the ship served as a guardship and munitions store, while carrying the personnel of the fledgling Royal Australian Naval College on her paybooks. In 1921, the ship was renamed HMAS Platypus II, and tasked as a submarine tender for the RAN’s six J-class submarines.

    In 1924, the monitor was sold for scrap, and was sunk as a breakwater off Half Moon Bay. The wreck became a popular site for scuba diving and picnics over the years, but there was a structural collapse in 1993. There have been several campaigns to preserve the ship (one of which is ongoing), as she is one of the last monitors, the only surviving ship of the Australian colonial navies, and one of only two surviving ships in the world with Coles turrets.[2][3] “

    • Sinbad2

      Back in 1969 I was at Cerberus(base) an old lady saw the name on my cap, and told me that when she was young she knew a guy who served on the ship the Cerberus.
      I used to drive past Platypus every afternoon going home from work from Waterhen.
      The Navy had some prime harbourside real estate back then.

      • FlorianGeyer

        That is fascinating and a great memory for you to have.

        The 123 day voyage of this lumbering vessel is a very interesting aspect to me that you will doubtless be aware of.

        “At the beginning of her long delivery voyage to Australia, Cerberus encountered heavy weather as she departed Chatham and was forced to seek shelter at Spithead, between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, before continuing on to Plymouth, where most of the crew deserted. With a new crew of sixty-five embarked, the voyage resumed on 7 November. She encountered more heavy weather in the Bay of Biscay but made Gibraltar safely where still more of her crew deserted. Between Gibraltar and Malta Cerberus encountered more favourable weather, and then endured searing heat as she steamed through the Red Sea. On 3 January 1871, the engineer recorded temperatures of 53ºC in the engine room and 61ºC in the stokehold.”

        http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-cerberus-hmvs

        The full account is well worth a read :)

  • 3.5 billion for each ships. One of those ships could get you

    -nearly 7,000 units of KH-35 anti ship missiles
    -4717 units of Exocet anti ship missiles