US Navy's largest-ever destroyer joins the fleet

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USS Zumwalt in full dress for its commissioning in Baltimore(Credit: US Navy)

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Under clear skies and to the music of brass bands, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) has formally been commissioned into the United States Navy. On Saturday at 6:20 pm EDT, Captain James A Kirk took command of the next-generation multimission Zumwalt-class destroyer at North Locust Point in Baltimore before a crowd of Navy officers, government officials and invited guests. After reading his official orders, Captain Kirk had the US flag and commissioning pennant raised on the superstructure of the Zumwalt, marking the ship's entry into active service.

The commissioning marks the end of almost five years of construction since the Zumwalt's keel was laid down at the Bath Iron Works on November 17, 2011. Designed for deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions, the destroyer is the largest ever built for the US Navy and features a distinct tumblehome stealth design, an all-electric propulsion system, state-of-the art vertical launch missile systems and advanced computing capabilities.

Backing these systems up is the Zumwalt's 78 megawatts of generating capacity, which is comparable to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This power is supplied by two 35.4-MW Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines driving Curtiss-Wright electric generators supplemented by two 3.8-MW Rolls-Royce RR4500 turbine generators. According to the Navy, this will allow the ship to run all its systems and still have enough reserve capacity to run a small town – or the anticipated next generation of energy beam weapons.

"This destroyer, like the others in our fleet, is capable of projecting power, no doubt," says Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "The Zumwalt-class is much larger than today's destroyers with a considerably larger flight deck – enough space to operate host Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, and unmanned systems and a vertical launch system second to none."

Now that she is commissioned, the Zumwalt will head for her new home in San Diego for installation and testing of weapon systems before beginning service.

Take a look at the Zumwalt in the video below:

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