US Navy's first Zumwalt-class destroyer begins sea trials

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The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean(Credit: US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works)

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The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) has begun sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean. The largest destroyer ever built for the US Navy and the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers left the General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works and traveled down the Kennebec River in Maine on Monday in the first of a series of tests leading up to her commissioning next year.

The Zumwalt is notable not only for its size, but also for its distinct tumblehome hull composite superstructure, which is part of a suite of advanced stealth features that reduce the ship's radar profile by a factor of 50 over current destroyer designs.

Carrying a crew of 130 and an air detachment of 28, the destroyer is armed with two 115 mm Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) firing rocket-powered precision Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) with a range of 63 nm (117 km), which is three times greater than current surface gunnery.

In addition, there are 80 MK-41 peripheral vertical launch system (VLS) missile cells, a stern ramp for launching two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, and a flight deck for two MH-60R or one MH-60R and 3 VT Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The Navy says this is the first US warship to incorporate the Integrated Power System (IPS), which is an all-electric system powered by gas turbines. This design was chosen not only chosen for economy and survivability, but also in anticipation of future energy weapons.

Named after former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R "Bud" Zumwalt Jr, construction of the US$4 billion Zumwalt began in 2009 and it was launched in 2014. The Navy says that it's designed to operate independently in forward areas to provide presence and deterrence, as well as operating with joint and combined expeditionary forces as a multi-mission Anti-Air Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Anti-Surface Warfare unit.

Originally, 32 of the Zumwalt-class ships were ordered, but cost overruns reduced this to three. Construction is already underway on the Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and the Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1001).

The video below shows the future USS Zumwalt taking to the seas.

Source: US Navy

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