The US Navy’s most futuristic ship headed out to sea on Monday for the first time as it takes on sea trials under the command of Navy Capt. James Kirk.
The USS Zumwalt will be the most advanced, as well as the largest, destroyer-class ship ever built for the US Navy. Its radical design is intended to make the ship able to slice through the water quietly with minimal crew, while still being able to outgun any potential opponents it could encounter.
The ship is powered by two Rolls-Royce Marine Trent-30 gas turbines, which allow the ship to reach speeds upwards of 30 knots. The deckhouse is outfitted with the most advanced automation and control systems available, allowing the warship to operate with an incredibly small crew size of just 148 people.
This reduction in crew is not at all reflected in a diminishment of power, though. The ship is armed with two deck guns that can fire self-guided projectiles over 60 miles towards a target. The munitions are self-guided, meaning that they can correct their course mid-flight to ensure better accuracy.
In addition, the destroyer is armed with a peripheral vertical launch system. The system, which rings the ship’s hull, enables the Zumwalt to launch a large battery of missiles towards designated targets. The Zumwalt can also be equipped with Tomahawk amd SM-3 missiles.
Despite all this fire power, the Zumwalt is remarkably stealthy. Due to the material used for the hull in combination with the ship’s angular design, the radar-cross section of the vessel is about the same as a fishing boat.
And at 610 feet long, the Zumwalt is the largest destroyer in the US Navy. This size allows the vessel to carry either two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, or one MH-60 and three unmanned drone vehicles.
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