Lately, a new type of destroyer had been making the news, as it was seen last Monday travelling down the Kennebec River in Maine, making its way toward the Atlantic. It would be the Zumwalt, and it is a destroyer that looks a lot more geometric than most destroyers. Not only does it have a very different looking exterior, but it is also designed with some specs on the inside that make it quite a dominator on the water.
According to Foxtrot Alpha, this is the pre-commissioned unit Zumwalt, soon to be the USS Zumwalt, the United States Navy's newest and most advanced surface warfare ship. There are about three ships planned (so far), and they operate with 60 percent of the crew of a regular destroyer. The Zumwalt is about 610 feet long and weighs in at 15,480 tons.
Not only is the shape on the top very different, but it has a tumblehome design where the sides of the hull slant inward as they go up from the waterline, rather than the outward that they normally do on most combat ships. It is a design that was popular back in the 1800s, but the hull is made to withstand the worst of seas. On board are computer-controlled stability systems so bad waters shouldn't be a problem.
According to The Washington Post, there is a lot riding on this new class of naval vessel. The first vessel cost $4 billion to design and build and is first in a $12.3 billion three-ship class. It has an all new all-electric power design in which the ship's gas-turbine engines power generators, rather than propellers, providing it with electrical energy that could be used to power high-tech weapons like railguns, lasers, and other various devices that aren't even invented yet.
In fact, the Zumwalt will be a test for the electromagnetic rail gun. This weapon, under development by the Office of Naval Research, uses electromagnetic pulses to launch projectiles at Mach 7, or seven times the speed of sound, at targets up to 110 miles away.
As mentioned before, the Zumwalt is one of three ships. The first is named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who served as chief of naval operations during that latter part of the Vietnam War. The second is the USS Michael Monsoor, named after a Navy SEAL, who was killed in Iraq and earned the Medal of Honor. The third is the USS Lyndon B. Johnson, named after the 36th U.S. president.
If you think that the design of the USS Zumwalt is futuristic, you are not alone. It does resemble a ship out of science fiction, and it should be known that it is commanded by Navy Captain James Kirk, the same name as the famous fictional starship captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.