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Tuesday 24 October 2017

America's newest warship breaks down at sea after 20 days

The USS Milwaukee, launched with much fanfare 20 days ago, had to be towed back to shore after engine problems

USS Milwaukee
USS Milwaukee
The first Zumwalt-class destroyer, the USS Zumwalt , the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, leaves the Kennebec River in Phippsburg, Maine

Harriet Alexander

The American navy's newest ship, launched with great fanfare less than a month ago, has broken down at sea and had to be towed to land.

The USS Milwaukee, a vast, futuristic-looking beast, suffered an engineering problem while en route from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport in Florida. From Florida it was due to travel on to its home port of San Diego.

The first Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Zumwalt, the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, passes spectators at Fort Popham at the mouth of the Kennebec River
The first Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Zumwalt, the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, passes spectators at Fort Popham at the mouth of the Kennebec River

But the ship, commissioned on November 21, suffered problems on Friday.

The Navy Times said that initial reports suggest fine metal debris collected in the lube oil filter, causing the system to shut down.

The USS Zumwalt is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials on the Kennebeck River Photo: U.S. Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works via Getty
The USS Zumwalt is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials on the Kennebeck River Photo: U.S. Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works via Getty

"Reporting of a complete loss of propulsion on USS Milwaukee is deeply alarming, particularly given this ship was commissioned just 20 days ago," said John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

 “US Navy ships are built with redundant systems to enable continued operation in the event of an engineering casualty, which makes this incident very concerning.

“I expect the navy to conduct a thorough investigation into the root causes of this failure, hold individuals accountable as appropriate, and keep the Senate Armed Services Committee informed.”

The site of the $437 million vessel being towed to shore in Virginia will be deeply embarrassing for the navy.

Last month they trumpeted the ship's launch, saying: Milwaukee is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation.

"It is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft."

Telegraph.co.uk

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