Docked & Loaded

U.S. destroyer back to San Diego after motor repairs

A new model of U.S. destroyer arrived at its homeport of San Diego December 8th after a three-month odyssey at sea wrought with breakdowns and repairs. After being out of commission and docked in Panama for three weeks, the U.S.S. Zumwalt is now docked at Naval Station San Diego, according to MilitaryPress.com. The primary cause of its docking was repairs to its induction motors, which had failed lube oil coolers. The Zumwalt, a DDG 1000 guided-missile destroyer, is the first of its class.

The USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) steams in formation with USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) on the final leg of her three-month journey to her new homeport in San Diego.—U.S. Navy Photo

The USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) steams in formation with USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) on the final leg of her three-month journey to her new homeport in San Diego.—U.S. Navy Photo

 

“We have looked forward to pulling in to San Diego for a long time,” Zumwalt commanding officer Capt. James Kirk said in a Navy statement. “I can’t express enough how proud I am of the crew’s hard work in bringing Zumwalt to the West Coast.”

Engineers noted that some of the electrical and engineering issues they’ve encountered can come with the territory of running a new model for the first time; a U.S. Naval Fleet spokesman was quoted by DefenseNews as saying “the technical community is looking at ways to operate the lube oil coolers more effectively.” Other growing pains include tweaking some of its highly expensive custom-made ammunition.

The mishaps occurred on November 21 while the Zumwalt—a $4 billion ship—was transiting through the Panama Canal, forcing it to be towed to port for repairs. “Both problems involved failed lube oil coolers for the ship’s advanced induction motors (AIM) that propel the port and starboard shafts,” said Clay Doss, a U.S. Naval Fleet spokesman. He added that design flaws were a possibility and would be under review.

Remember how important the basic elements of training and maintenance are aboard Naval ships, as everything is magnified.

A San Diego surfer catches a wave in the foreground, as the Zumwalt sits pierside at its homeport.—MilitaryPress.com photo

A San Diego surfer catches a wave in the foreground, as the Zumwalt sits pierside at its homeport.—MilitaryPress.com photo

Failing lube oil coolers can adversely affect operations in a number of ways; in this case, they were leaking. Seawater from the chillers was contaminating the bearings, the crew discovered, according to a report from USNI. Repairs were performed by crew members and teams from Naval Sea Systems Command as well as General Electric.

The ship faced a similar casualty in September this year, which grounded the ship for several days at Naval Station Norfolk. Now that the ship is in San Diego, she will begin a combat systems activation period that will last for several months before she joins the fleet as a fully operational ship sometime in 2018. Zumwalt is the first of three in a $22-billion class that also includes Michael Monsoor and Lyndon B. Johnson, which are currently under construction at BIW (Bath Iron Works), a major shipyard in Bath, Maine.

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