Destroyer Program Severely Curtailed

The service now has three destroyers with no ammunition for their long-range guns, which was the entire point of building them to begin with.
The service now has three destroyers with no ammunition for their long-range guns, which was the entire point of building them to begin with.

The USS Lyndon Johnson, the third and final Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, floated out of its drydock over the weekend. Meanwhile, the second of the class, USS Michael Monsoor, arrived at its future home port of San Diego, California.

While the launching of the Johnson completes the construction of the controversial destroyers, the program—which was cut by more than 90 percent, and still lacks ammunition for the six advanced gun systems—remains deeply troubled.

The 610-foot-long USS Johnson launched on Sunday, after a multi-day operation that saw the ship moved from dry land into a drydock, then the drydock filled with water to float the ship. As gCaptain reports, the ship is expected to be christened in the spring of 2019.

The USS Johnson is the third and final destroyer of the Zumwalt class that includes sister ships USS Zumwalt and USS Monsoor. Once upon a time, the Zumwalts were planned to be a mighty class of destroyers meant to replace the firepower of the Navy’s four Iowa-class battleships. The retirement of the four Iowas left a gaping hole in the U.S. Navy’s ability to provide fire support for the Marine Corps during amphibious landings. To make up for the shortfall, and to support land wars in the post-9/11 era, the Navy had planned to 32 Zumwalt class destroyers.

Instead of 32 ships, the U.S. got three.

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