The future USS Michael Monsoor, the second ship of the Zumwalt-class, the U.S. Navy’s biggest and technologically most advanced new class of guided-missile destroyers, will need to have a main turbine engine replaced after suffering damage to the turbine blades during acceptance trials, USNI News reported earlier this week.
“[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.”
Zumwalt-class destroyers feature distinct wave-piercing tumblehome hulls and a stealth design meant to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section. 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 service’s principal entity inspecting and reporting on a ship’s readiness for active duty operations — in February 2018.
The damage to the ship’s turbine blades was reportedly found in post-trials inspection.
“The problem we had coming off of acceptance trials was actually the turbine blades…” Galinis said.“We found that after the sea trial through what we call a borescope inspection, where we actually put a visual and optical device inside the turbine to kind of look at this. And we determined that it was best to change that turbine out before we actually transited the ship to San Diego.”
The damage is not expected to influence the installation and activation of the Monsoor’s combat systems, which will take place following the ship’s transit in San Diego, California throughout 2018 and 2019 and will be concluded by 2020. The Monsoor will be commissioned at its homeport in San Diego in January 2019. The ship is expected to become operational in late 2020 or early 2021.
Zumwalt-class destroyers are equipped with eighty MK57 vertical launch tubes, each capable of accommodating one to four SM-1, SM-2, and SM-6, or Tomahawk land-attack missiles. The stealth destroyers will also be armed with new long-range anti-ship missiles such as the Maritime Strike Tomahawk following a change of the mission requirements of the Zumwalt-class from a land-attack platform to surface warfare in November 2017.
The Zumwalt-class still lacks a projectile for its two main guns, with the Navy expected to select a replacement in the coming months.