The Navy’s new destroyer headed out into the waters of Maine this week, marking the start to a new generation of lighter, faster, smaller, and deadlier war ships.
The USS Zumwalt, the first of the DDG-1000 class of destroyers, is a long-ship which carries state-of-the-art weapons. The Navy’s new destroy is capable of killing targets up to 60 miles away.
The Zumwalk is 610 feet long and 81 feet wide, yet it ways less than the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor.
The battleship is light because it is wrapped in a lightweight carbon fiber composite. The ship is also built on angles that help make it 50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer.
According to Chris Johnson a spokesperson for Naval Sea Systems Command, “It has the radar cross-section of a fishing boat.”
The US Navy had originally planned to spend $9 billion in research and development for the DDG-1000 and another $20 billion to deliver seven ships. After costs ran over the program turned in just three ships.
While the ship has left its home at Bath Iron Works in Maine, it is not ready for duty. The shipbuilder will now begin installing various weapons, including two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) which fire rocket powered, computer-guided shells that can reach targets up to 63 miles away. The guns also fire at a rate three times faster than current warships.
The DDX will house a crew of around 150 men and women, a far cry from the 275 required to operate current destroyers. The Navy’s new destroyer required less crew because it is self-firing which means shells do not need to be manually added.
The Navy’s new destroy also features a new missile launching system that can fire up to 80 missiles at a time, including Tomahawk cruise missiles and Seasparrow surface to air missiles.
For added air support the destroy can also carry two Seahawk helicopters and four unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Navy’s new destroy would have left port last month but the government shutdown delayed its launch.