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USS Zumwalt, a futuristic guided-missile destroyer with superior stealth capabilities that cost American taxpayers some $4 billion, is rusting, new photos have revealed.
State-of-the-art stealth tech provides Zumwalt with a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite the ship’s length of 190 meters (600 feet). But even this couldn’t conceal a rust problem with the vessel, which was commissioned in 2016 and has yet to be put in service.
Photos uploaded on social media showed some of the destroyer’s radar-absorbent tiles changing colour to dark orange and rust covering the vessel’s convex tumblehome hull.
The US Navy said it’s waging ’a constant battle against corrosion’ when asked to comment on the appearance of its destroyer by the Drive website.
‘The harsh environment in which we operate degrades our ships, and our sailors work hard to address corrosion along with all the maintenance and crew training required to sustain our navy’s warfighting readiness,’ it pointed out.
USS Zumwalt is currently undergoing testing and training off southern California, with its homeport being San Diego Bay. The composite materials used in the ship are supposed to reduce corrosion. However, according to the Drive, its stealth coating could be harder to maintain than the normal surfaces of other ships in the US Navy.
Another factor likely aggravating the rust issue is the minimal manning concept employed on ‘Zumwalt’. Automation allows it to function with a crew of only 175 people, so there simply might not be enough pairs of hands on board to scrub the corrosion off.
The photos caused a debate online, with some commentators claiming that the condition of the ship was an embarrassment, while others responded that only battle capabilities mattered and some rust didn’t affect them at all.
USS Zumwalt is the first of three DDG-1000 destroyers designed to support ground forces in land attacks, while also performing anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine missions.
The second ship in the class, USS Michael Mansoor, was commissioned in 2019 and is also undergoing testing in San Diego.
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Categories: Current Events