Some months back, we reported news on the new destroyer, Zumwalt. The Navy is now taking possession of this remarkable vessel, which is considered the most hi-tech and the largest ship in the destroyer class. The Zumwalt is 610 feet long and personnel, gear, and supplies are being loaded onto it as we speak. Crew members will be reporting to their new commander, Capt. James Kirk.
The Zumwalt was built by the Bath Iron Works, and it is the first new class of warship since 1989 to leave the company. The ship has a unique, angular shape which will make it much more difficult to be detected on radar. Its new guns can fire a variety of munitions to targets almost 100 miles away. It is powered by turbine engines that are very similar to what you find on a Boeing 777. Because of its advanced automation technology, the ship can be operated with a smaller crew (143). It is not cheap; estimates of final costs run about $4.4 billion or more.
From concept to final design took over 15 years, and there have been many changes along the way. These changes, of course, added to the costs, and this has caused the Navy to reduce its desired inventory from 32 ships to only 3. Another reason for the increase in cost was simply the development of new technologies that were added to the ship, giving it unique capabilities. Sea trials were a resounding success, and now the vessel is about to hit the waves under Navy command.
Captain Kirk said that the ship will be formally commissioned into service as the USS Zumwalt in October. It will then travel to San Diego, its home-port, where it will undergo more trials and testing.
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