BATH, Maine — The first of three Zumwalt-class "stealth" destroyers built by Bath Iron Works, for the U.S. Navy will not be combat-ready until early next year, a full six years after the $7.8 billion warship was first due.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that the U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG1000) is now scheduled to be delivered with full combat capability during the first quarter of 2020.

BIW delivered the USS Zumwalt to the Navy in May 2016. Raytheon and BAE Systems have continued work on the combat systems since then.

The class of three ships also includes the USS Michael Monsoor, originally due in 2014, and the USS Lyndon B. Johnson, originally slated for delivery in 2018.

The Navy initially envisioned a class of 32 Zumwalt ships, but in 2011 trimmed the number to 24 and ultimately to three.

The destroyers were designed to fire "Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles" (LRAPs) from advanced guns systems, but when the number of destroyers was capped at three, the cost per round rose to $800,000 to $1 million. As a result, the advanced guns systems will remain inoperable on the ships, a May 16 report by the Government Accountability Office said.

According to the report, the Navy continued to work to correct 320 "serious deficiencies" identified when the ship was first accepted in May 2016.

Another 246 "serious deficiencies" were found after acceptance trials in early 2018 for the USS Michael Monsoor.

The cost of procuring the three-ship program has increased more than $4 billion since 2010, to just more than $13.2 billion, according to a report by the Congressional Research Office.

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