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US Navy's 'most advanced warship' needs a tow

The USS Zumwalt may be a high-tech marvel, but it's not immune to breaking down.


The USS Zumwalt -- without the tow.

US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

A high price tag guarantees nothing.

The US Navy's technologically advanced USS Zumwalt destroyer may have cost $4 billion (£3.2 billion, AU$5.4 billion) to build, but it still needed a tow after it broke down in the Panama Canal on Monday evening. According to Defense News, the ship "suffered an engineering casualty."

The Navy described the Zumwalt as its "most advanced warship" when the military put it into active service in October with a real-life Capt. James Kirk in command.

The ship was attempting to transit the Panama Canal when an engineering issue cropped up. It will remain in Panama for evaluation and repairs. Eventually, the Zumwalt will continue onward to its home port in California where the Navy is scheduled to install the ship's combat systems.

The Navy notes that the Zumwalt features a "state-of-the-art electric propulsion system, wave-piercing tumblehome hull, stealth design and the latest war fighting technology and weaponry available." The ship's unusual Integrated Power System feeds its propulsion, ship's systems and combat systems all with power generated from the same gas turbine engines. It seems that some of those futuristic advancements come with growing pains.