09:46 GMT15 July 2020
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    The engine failure of the US Navy’s newest warship Zumwalt in the Panama Canal on Monday resulted in the vessel being towed to port, but such setbacks are not unexpected given Zumwalt’s revolutionary design and cutting edge technologies, former US Department of Defense speechwriter Eric Wertheim told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — USS Zumwalt broke down on Monday while passing through the lower half of the Panama Canal and had to be taken under tow to a berth, the US Third Navy Fleet in San Diego revealed.

    "This is the price you pay for innovation and it is unfortunate, but not unexpected," Wertheim, who is author of the US Naval Institutes Combat Fleets of the World, said. "It is better to see a news story that says the US Navy's newest destroyer undergoing sea trials had engine failure rather than a story that says engines fail during combat."

    Wertheim noted that Zumwalt is a unique ship unlike any in the world and it will take time to get the radically-different new vessel to operate smoothly.

    "We are experimenting with new technologies on the Zumwalt to see what works so we can incorporate new technology into other ships. We don't want to invest everything in these new technologies until they are tested," he stated.

    Wertheim explained that the US Navy is trying to bridge the gap to the 22nd Century and not replace its entire inventory of destroyers with the Zumwalt.

    "We are still building conventional, combat tested warships like the Arleigh Burke's and are constructing a smaller number of ships like the Zumwalt that will allow us to test out the new technologies and see what works. We need to have a mix of ships," he said.

    The Zumwalt is a guided multi-mission stealth ship that focuses on land attacks, but is also designed for surface and anti-aircraft warfare as well as naval gunfire support.

    The Zumwalt is the first iteration of its type and represents the cusp of new technology, Wertheim concluded.


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