USS Zumwalt super-destroyer is rusting near California, literally
WASHINGTON – The US Navy’s USS Zumwalt, which has been testing for a year and cost US taxpayers at least 4.4 billion US dollars, is rusting, according to new photos taken in Southern California waters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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The photos show that the ship’s anti-radar absorbing plates are deeply discolored and covered with rust, which raises worrying questions.
Experts say that the occurrence of such corrosion and rust occurs when “ships that have been deployed for long periods, executing high tempo operations, not those that spend the vast majority of their time tied up to the pier at one of the Navy’s most well-equipped harbors,” writes Tyler Rogoway of The Drive. Opinions of experts in the field are contradictory – some say that while a ship operates such rust is not a problem for the ship, while others say that in addition to “discomfort in appearance” this rust speaks of problems with USS Zumwalt systems.
Removing rust on the ship can also be a major obstacle. Some experts note a very important fact – the number of the ship’s crew is half [175 sailors – ed.] Then that of other destroyers. And although an automated process would solve the problem to some extent, the small number of sailors on the ship and the daily tasks they have to perform will have a serious impact on the time it takes to get the ship in order and eliminate corrosion.
Most disturbing, however, is the material from which the USS Zumwalt deck is built. This is a composite deck, which according to its characteristics should significantly reduce corrosion on it. For reference, a sister ship, the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), has a deck cabin made of steel.
The problems of the USS Zumwalt do not end there. Tests of this ship continue, but the US Navy will still have to integrate additional systems on it, as well as complete the other ship systems. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), this will cost more than $ 169 million, the minimum. Thus, the idea of the Pentagon USS Zumwalt to become operational in 2021 or at least in 2022 fails. GAO predicts that USS Zumwalt will be ready to carry out its military missions only in 2025.
“As of September 2020, the Navy plans to request $169 million to install its four new systems on at least one or more DDG 1000 ships and would need to request further funding to complete the remaining ships’ systems. Though the Navy plans to fully mature these technologies by ship integration, the integration will not occur until several years after the Navy plans to achieve initial operational capability in December 2021. As a result, the DDG 1000 class ships will remain incomplete and incapable of performing their planned mission until at least 2025,” the GAO report said.
The USS Zumwalt role
The Zumwalt class was designed with multimission capability. Unlike previous destroyer classes, designed primarily for deep-water combat, the Zumwalt class was primarily designed to support ground forces in land attacks, in addition to the usual destroyer missions of anti-air, anti-surface, and antisubmarine warfare.
Zumwalt is equipped with two Advanced Gun Systems [AGS], which are designed to fire the Long Range Land Attack Projectile [LRLAP]. LRLAP was to be one of a range of land attack and ballistic projectiles for the AGS, but was the only munition the AGS could use. LRLAP had a range of up to 100 nautical miles [190 km; 120 mi] fired from the AGS. It was to be a key component for ground forces support, but LRLAP procurement was cancelled in 2016 and the Navy has no plan to replace it. Since Zumwalt class cannot provide naval gunfire support the Navy has re-purposed the class to surface warfare.
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