The first ship in the U.S. Navy’s $23 billion program to build a new class of destroyers is scheduled for a September delivery -- more than five years later than originally scheduled and 10 years after construction began on the stealthy vessels built by General Dynamics Corp.
Delivery plans for the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer have been a roller-coaster of changing milestones, most recently moved from May of this year to September, according to budget documents confirmed by a Navy spokeswoman. The ship isn’t expected to have an initial combat capability until September 2021, at least three years later than planned.
The latest delay for the first $7.8 billion vessel, designated the DDG-1000, may add to doubts that the Navy can build, outfit and deliver vessels on time and within cost targets. The service is seeking public and congressional support for plans to reach a 355-ship fleet by 2034 from 289 today, a 20-year acceleration over last year’s plan to reach that goal.
“The new information underscores the risks that we have reported on for many years: When the Navy pushes forward on lead ships without realistic cost, schedule and performance expectations, the result is ships that are late, over cost, and incomplete,” Shelby Oakley, the Government Accountability Office’s supervisor for naval systems reviews, said in an email. (end of excerpt)
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