The USS Zumwalt, the largest-ever destroyer built for the US Navy, has departed Bath Iron Works and is finally headed out to sea for the first time to begin testing after almost seven years of construction, the Associated Press reports. The US Navy isn’t known for its speedy development cycles, and in this case it’s particularly knuckle-grinding. The Zumwalt rose out of what was dubbed the SC-21 program, a research program started way back in 1994 that led to the development of DD-21, the Destroyer for the 21st century.
Even given the long development time, the ship itself is a showcase of new military tech. The USS Zumwalt is a 14,600-ton design that’s 600 feet long. It has electric propulsion, a stealth design to minimize its radar signature, and new radar and sonar, the report said, all of which led to the seemingly inevitable production delays and growing price tag (now estimated at $4.4 billion). It also includes a tremendous 155mm rocket-powered projectile known as the Advanced Gun System.
From the US military’s Fact File:
Developed under the DD(X) destroyer program, the Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG 1000) is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission surface combatants tailored for land attack and littoral dominance with capabilities that defeat current and projected threats. DDG 1000 will triple naval surface fires coverage as well as tripling capability against anti-ship cruise missiles. DDG 1000 has a 50-fold radar cross section reduction compared to current destroyers, improves strike group defense 10-fold and has 10 times the operating area in shallow water regions against mines. For today’s warfighter, DDG 1000 fills an immediate and critical naval-warfare gap, meeting validated Marine Corps fire support requirements.