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Stealthy New Destroyer Completes Repairs, Departs Panama

The USS Zumwalt. Navy photo
The USS Zumwalt. Navy photo

After breaking down Nov. 21 during a transit through the Panama Canal, the newly commissioned destroyer Zumwalt has completed repairs and is once again en route to its new San Diego homeport, Navy officials said Thursday.

Lt. Julianne Holland, a spokeswoman for U.S. Third Fleet, said in a statement that crew members had made repairs to the damaged propulsion system, aided by a repair team from General Electric and Naval Sea Systems Command.

"The necessary testing and evaluation have been completed and the ship is continuing her transit to her new homeport of San Diego, where she is expected to arrive in the coming weeks," Holland said.

According to a Navy official, the Zumwalt experienced two separate engineering casualties during its Panama Canal southbound transit. Both appeared to be the result of failed heat exchangers within the lube oil coolers of advanced induction motors, the official said.

The $4 billion Zumwalt is the Navy's most expensive destroyer and the first of three ships in its three-ship class, built with very few right angles to maintain the stealthiest possible profile in the water.

The ship, which was commissioned Oct. 15, was previously sidelined in September due to a problem in its engineering plant, and repaired at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

Ultimately, the Defense Department plans to base the Zumwalt and the two ships to follow it in the Pacific.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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