You have to see it to believe it. The Navy sent its first Zumwalt-class destroyer out to sea on December 7th for trials and testing. It is the largest destroyer the Navy has ever built, and it left Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine to great local fanfare. As the mammoth ship made its way down the Kennebec River, heading for open waters, more than a few heads were turned.
The ship is 600-feet long, 15,000 tons and looks like it came out of a sci-fi movie. Impressive does not describe it accurately. It is named the USS Zumwalt, and it fair to say that there has never been anything like it before. As if its futuristic look were not enough, its skipper is Navy Capt. James Kirk. We are not making that up.
During its sea trials, Bath Iron Works will be going over the ship from top to bottom, testing its performance and correcting anything it can correct at sea. It is hoped that the ship will be delivered to the Navy next year (2016). The ship’s exterior does more than make it look powerful and cool; it also helps to reduce its footprint on radar and sonar- using stealth technology. It is propelled electrically and carries a variety of missiles and guns.
As the ship is designed to use more automation, fewer crew members are needed to operate it. The cost of this new ship is estimated to come in at about $4.5 billion. There is a total of three ships planned with the USS Zumwalt being the first. At one time, the Navy had planned on building 32 ships, but budget constraints have cut that number back significantly.
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