'Over here', we have all enjoyed some sardonic humour in the fact that the very latest, er, ultra-powerful ships in the Royal Navy seem unable to run for much longer than a 40-year old Morris Minor before they break down. However, if you can feel the nausea rising then take a look 'over there' and suddenly you will feel much better about yourselves!
The 'Zumwalt' class of Navy destroyers, named after an earlier and distinguished admiral, was promised to be very latest, high-tech naval ship being virtually invisible but packing a huge punch. At a mere $1.34 billion the fleet of 32 such ships would come in at a total of $46 billion. In defence spending terms, peanuts, and the Congress of idiots duly passed the programme. Two years later - yes, just two short years - someone in the Navy Department realised they must have put a decimal point in the wrong place because costs starting going through the roof and the number of ships was reduced to 16. Four years after that, er, adjustment, and with costs rising to over $3 billion per ship the 'fleet' was reduced to just seven vessels. Fast forward to today and the number of ships has been reduced to three at a total development and construction cost of $7 billion per ship!
Needless to say, the Chief of Naval Operations, the most senior officer in the US Navy, who was the first to press ahead with this programme, eventually retired and became - yes, you guessed it - CEO and chairman of General Dynamics, one of the principal contractors.
This November, USS Zumwalt was passing along the Panama Canal and guess what - yes, of course, it broke down and had to be towed out. If you are made of stern stuff, or, if you have managed to avoid paying US taxes, then you can read the abysmal horror story here: