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Cost of stealthy ships balloons

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BATH, Maine—The price tag for the most expensive destroyer built for the U.S. Navy still is growing.

Updated figures from the Congressional Research Service indicate the cost of three ships in the Zumwalt class has grown 3.7 percent, or $450 million, from the previous fiscal year.

That lifts the total for the three ships to $12.74 billion.

The first-in-class Zumwalt that’s under construction at Bath Iron Works successfully has completed builder trials.

It now will undergo acceptance trials later this month before delivery to the Navy, said Matt Wickenheiser, a spokesman for the company.

It’s due to be commissioned in October.

It will be followed by two more of the stealthy destroyers that feature an angular shape to reduce radar signature.

The Navy wasn’t overly alarmed by the revised cost estimates for the 600-foot ships.

Navy spokeswoman Capt. Thurraya Kent said the ships remain “well within the program baseline.”

Cost overruns are common in first-in-class military systems.

There’s likely plenty of blame to go around, and that includes the Navy’s decision to serve as systems integrator instead of leaving the task to the shipyard, which is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.

The shipyard said it’s focusing on delivering the ships.

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