The US Navy's newest all-singing-all-dancing stealth destroyer broke down again, this time while transiting the Panama Canal, colliding with the Canal lock walls and forcing the $4 billion dollar ship to resort to a tow from a tugboat.
The USS Zumwalt was towed to a former US naval station in Panama where it will undergo emergency repairs. This is just months after it suffered an engineering malfunction in September.
According to US Naval Institute News: USS Zumwalt lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit and 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.
The Advanced Induction Motors are huge electrical motors driven by the ship's gas turbine engines, providing power to the ship's weapons, sensors, navigation systems and propellers. The Zumwalt is capable of generating 78 megawatts of electrical power, enough to power lasers and railguns, according to Popular Mechanics.
After losing propulsion, Zumwalt collided with the walls of the Panama Canal, which was described as "minor contact" resulting in "minor cosmetic damage".
Current plans are to repair the Zumwalt in Panama, a process expected to take up to 10 days. The ship was headed to homeport in San Diego when the incident took place.
The Zumwalt was commissioned into the US Navy on October 15. The first of three Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers, the ships were built around two 155-millimeter guns designed to fire the new Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). On November 7th the Navy announced it would not be buying the LRLAP, citing the cost, and was exploring cheaper alternatives.
The USS Zumwalt boasts a number of advanced technologies, including a striking, radar-minimizing shape and a rocket-powered gun system that can fire shells 70 miles away.