March 10, 2015 By Christopher P. Cavas – Defense News
WASHINGTON — Problems with the complex technology being installed in the new destroyers of the Zumwalt class have forced the Navy and shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to delay delivery of the first two ships, the US Navy said Monday night.
The Zumwalt (DDG 1000) had been scheduled to be delivered to the Navy this summer, but that has dropped back to November. Delivery of the second ship, Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), production of which is about a year behind Zumwalt, has also been pushed back a few months in 2016, to November of that year.
Work on the third and last ship in the class, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), has not been affected, and that ship is still scheduled for delivery in December 2018.
"The schedule delay is due primarily to the challenges encountered with completing installation, integration and testing of the highly unique, leading edge technology designed into this first-of-class warship," Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, spokeswoman for the Navy's acquisition directorate, said in a statement.
The three ships are all under construction at GD's shipyard in Bath, Maine. Zumwalt was launched last October and is 94 percent complete, Kent said, and the ship is expected to begin engineering sea trials later this year. Monsoor is scheduled for launch this year as well.
Bath also builds Aegis destroyers of the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke class. Completion delays with Zumwalt and Monsoor could affect Aegis destroyer production, Kent indicated.
"Navy and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works continue to work together in evaluating schedule impacts for all ships under construction in Bath, Maine, which also includes ships under construction for the Aegis Class Destroyer Program," Kent said in the statement. "Both the Navy and BIW are committed to collectively managing risks and controlling costs to deliver both DDG 1000 and DDG 51-class ships to the fleet in the most efficient manner possible."
The DDG 1000 design features an innovative, integrated power system able to switch electrical power between propulsion, sensor and weapon systems, along with a new combat system and numerous technical innovations. The Pentagon's Office of Test and Evaluation did not discuss the DDG 1000 in its latest report on selected acquisition programs, issued in January, and in its report a year earlier did not discuss any major technical problems with the ships' construction.