Two daughters of former President Lyndon B. Johnson christened a Navy destroyer Saturday in Maine, ending a six-year construction project criticized for excessive cost and dubious naming choice.
The approximately $8 billion USS Lyndon B. Johnson was launched in Bath, Maine, by Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, who smashed champagne bottles on the 610-foot ship’s bow.
“Daddy would be proud to have a stealthy ship that’s looking forward, not backward at past things," Robb told the Associated Press.
The ship is just one of three planned Zumwalt-class destroyers. A fleet of 32 was nixed as costs ballooned.
"The vessels represent a case study of a program run without adult leadership," the Project on Government Oversight said in January. "Its contractors and admirals were blinded by ambition that had little to do with providing the fleet with enough hulls to patrol the world’s oceans, but everything to do with maritime hubris that didn’t pan out."
Costs aren't over. Earlier this year, Raytheon won a $255 million contract to supply mission systems equipment to the ship. The contract is worth up to $349 million.
The choice to name the ship after Johnson stirred controversy. When announced in 2012, Wired magazine dubbed it "the most ironic ship ever," citing Johnson's thin World War II-era naval experience, and his role stretching the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify the U.S. role in Vietnam's civil war.