Destroyer-class boats have long been the pinnacle of the US Navy. Defined as a fast maneuverable warship that’s capable of attacking enemy targets or defending allied vessels, it plays a major role in military operations. Ever prior to World War I, the Navy had been building a sizable force of destroyers. Just recently, however, the country’s largest destroyer headed out to sea on its Maiden voyage.
Dubbed the USS Zumwalt, this massive behemoth of a warship is a sight to see. The $4.4 billion destroyer tips the scales at 14,600 tons, stretching roughly 600 feet long. But what really makes the distinguishes the USS Zumwalt from other destroyer-class warships is its stealth technology.
The US Navy began experimenting with advanced stealth technology for use in warships back in 1994 with its SC-21 program. This paved the way for a new, stealthier class of destroyers. After being in construction for more than seven years, the USS Zumwalt was finally finished, sailing from the Bath Iron Works and out to the sea.
While details regarding the USS Zumwalt’s stealth technology remain largely unknown (and for good reason), reports indicate that it features a “stealth design” to minimize radar signature and sonar.
Of course, the USS Zumwalt is also equipped with some pretty heavy firepower, including a 155mm cannon called the Advanced Gun System.
“Developed under the DD(X) destroyer program, the Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG 1000) is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission surface combatants tailored for land attack and littoral dominance with capabilities that defeat current and projected threats. DDG 1000 will triple naval surface fires coverage as well as tripling capability against anti-ship cruise missiles. DDG 1000 has a 50-fold radar cross section reduction compared to current destroyers, improves strike group defense 10-fold and has 10 times the operating area in shallow water regions against mines. For today’s warfighter, DDG 1000 fills an immediate and critical naval-warfare gap, meeting validated Marine Corps fire support requirements,” wrote the US Navy in its Fact File.
The USS Zumwalt isn’t headed out for active combat missions just yet, however. Instead, the Navy is taking it on a test run in open waters to ensure it’s capable of performing its intended functions.
Here’s a fun fact: Captain James A. Kirk is the commanding officer of the USS Zumwalt. William Shatner, who played the role of Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series, sent a letter to Captain James A. Kirk, offering his support to both him and his crew.