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USS Zumwalt hits the water  (Source: AP)

The US Navy's USS Zumwalt  (Source: Bath Iron Works)
The U.S. Navy is one step closer to receiving the USS Zumwalt

The US Navy's massive 610-foot USS Zumwalt modern-day destroyer launched earlier this week, quietly hitting the water on the Kennebec River in Maine.

Zumwalt is a $4 billion warship featuring a next-generation advanced rocket system, with a 155mm “advanced gun system” capable of launching rocket-propelled warheads more than 100 miles. The ship will have the capability of firing 80 missiles, including cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

“It’s absolutely massive. It’s higher than the tree line on the other side,” said Amy Lent, Maine Maritime Museum Executive Director, in a press statement. “It’s an absolutely huge ship – very imposing. It’s massively dominating the waterfront.”

If needed for rescue or surveillance, Zumwalt can support two Seahawk helicopters – or four unmanned aerial vehicles – with the US Navy showing increased interest in using UAVs.

To operate, a crew of only 130 to 150 is needed, and they will get to enjoy a larger living space, satellite laptops to connect to the Internet, and better food from a modern kitchen.

The USS Zumwalt was originally scheduled to be christened on October 19, but was canceled due to the US federal government shutdown.  Bath Iron Works and the US Navy plan to officially christen the Zumwalt – and the US Navy is scheduled to officially receive the ship in 2015.

The ship designers and electricians admitted there was an initial learning curve they had to overcome to deal with the warship’s angular carbon fiber composite superstructure and custom hull.  The superstructure hides antennas and satellites and deflects radar, while the custom hull cuts through waves faster.

Despite the expected benefits of the Zumwalt, the destroyer does have some critics regarding the scope of its goals.  Some critics say the Navy is trying to implement too many different emerging technologies that haven’t been tested in real-world situations yet.  

Cost is another problem that is often mentioned regarding the DDG-1000 class of destroyers, which is proving expensive.  The Navy originally wanted to spend $9 billion for research and development for the DDG-1000 program - and $20 billion to build and launch seven next-generation ships.  As many as three ships could be cut from the program, so only four DDG-1000 battleships could be developed in the future.

Sources: CNN, US Navy Times, UPI



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RE: Ummm,
By chromal on 10/30/2013 3:15:08 PM , Rating: 3
The USS Zumwalt is stated to have a displacement of 14564 tons. The Iowa-class USS Iowa battleship has a displacement of 45000 tons (and is 887ft long). I will say that as 'stealth destroyers' go, this one is heavy, Russian and British equivalents both displace less than 10000 tons...

I'm not convinced the Zumwalt's carbon-fiber construction will stand up to battle damage or fire well, and wonder how stealthy it really would be to an attack sub or remote sensing satellite. I'm not sure I understand this ship class's mission.


RE: Ummm,
By Michael Hatamoto on 10/30/2013 4:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
The Zumwalt class destroyers are designed for land-based attacks, so it is supposed to sneak in, launch attacks, and head out of range as soon as possible.


RE: Ummm,
By tng on 10/30/2013 6:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
In other words, the same role as the Iowa class ships saw in most of the actions they were in.

I guess in a way that makes sense, now that those ships are all museums, they do need a mobile platform for support.


RE: Ummm,
By 91TTZ on 10/31/2013 2:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Zumwalt class destroyers are designed for land-based attacks, so it is supposed to sneak in, launch attacks, and head out of range as soon as possible.


It seems unlikely to "sneak" anywhere when people are describing it like this:

"It’s absolutely massive. It’s higher than the tree line on the other side,” said Amy Lent, Maine Maritime Museum Executive Director, in a press statement. “It’s an absolutely huge ship – very imposing. It’s massively dominating the waterfront.”


RE: Ummm,
By Reclaimer77 on 10/31/2013 4:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's why the US Military are the world champs of nighttime ops :)


RE: Ummm,
By idiot77 on 10/31/2013 7:26:07 PM , Rating: 1
The ocean is a big place. You would be amazed what goes unnoticed on the open water.


RE: Ummm,
By johnsonx on 11/1/2013 10:09:18 AM , Rating: 2
In other news, Amy Lent was just promoted to the rank of "Captain Redundant".


RE: Ummm,
By Michael Hatamoto on 11/6/2013 3:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry - Captain James Kirk will make sure the Zumwalt remains stealthy! ;)


RE: Ummm,
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 7:12:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's not supposed to sneak from human eye, but from radars and such.


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