Navy’s $7.8 billon USS Zumwalt still not combat ready after six years

The US Navy’s controversial new Zumwalt class destroyers are now overdue and over budget, with the $23 billion program currently over half a decade past their proposed rollout date.

The $7.8 billion USS Zumwalt, the lead ship in the class was supposed to be deemed “combat capable” last month, five years past its initial deadline and over a decade after it was first built.

“While combat system testing has made significant progress, Zumwalt continues to work through first-in-class integration and shipboard test challenges,” Navy spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke said in the statement.

The US Navy’s phased delivery of what they refer to as “the largest and most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world” has been a troublesome affair so far, with many defects and issues plaguing the vessels.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the Zumwalt itself will not be ready until 2020.

Originally a 32-ship program, the Zumwalt class has been reduced to three vessels, and the ships have yet to even see combat duty.

“From what we understand, these latest delays continue to stem from the same, numerous difficult issues the Navy has faced on DDG-1000 for some time that are a result of concurrently attempting to prove out and build a very complex ship,” said Shelby Oakley, an acquisition director with the Government Accountability Office.

The US Navy claims it is working around the clock to correct over 320 “serious deficiencies” that were discovered and identified when the Zumwalt was accepted in May.

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