This Is The Navy's New Zumwalt-Class Destroyer Out At Sea For The Very First Time

Discussion in 'U.S. Navy' started by Technofox, Dec 7, 2015.

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  1. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    This Is The Navy's New Zumwalt-Class Destroyer Out At Sea For The Very First Time

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    Pre-Commissioning Unit Zumwalt, soon to be known as the USS Zumwalt, is the United States Navy’s newest and most advanced surface warfare ship. It’s almost an experiment in its own right, with only three ships planned, only 60 percent of the crew of a regular destroyer, and enough power to feed railgunsand lasers that don’t even exist yet. Here it is on its first sea trials today, andjust look at it.

    The Zumwalt left the Bath Iron Works shipbuilding facility on the Kennebec river in Maine, like a slab-sided techno-iceberg from the future being pushed along the calm waters by staid, antiquated-looking tugboats.

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    Out at sea, its wave-piercing tumblehome hull continues to look a bit alien, as it’s designed to run through the ocean, rather than on top of it.

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    While most builders’ sea trials are relatively boring affairs, the Zumwalt’s sea trails are being closely watched thanks to that tumblehome design, in which the sides of the hull slant inward as they go up from the waterline, rather than outward, as is the norm on most combat ships today.

    Though once common in the 1800s, as it’s a great way to stack cannons, the design concept fell out of favor once turrets became the norm as it’s inherently less stable than other designs. Which is an issue, if you’re planning out an ocean-going vessel which can theoretically see the roughest of storms and can suffer serious underwater trauma.

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    But now we have things like computer-controlled stability systems and advanced modeling, and the Navy seems pretty convinced that it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Although if it actually is a problem, and both the Navy and the ship’s builders are wrong, we’re about to find out.

    Photos credit: Bath Iron Works, AP

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    Wow!!! Now just put one of these on it:

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  2. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Zumwalt Construction Timelapse

     
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  3. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    USS Zumwalt Undergoing Sea Trials:

     
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  4. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Looks sleek in calm seas, can't wait for the rough-sea trials to start. I've heard criticism the Zumwalt's too narrow, and thus will be unstable during rough seas, but its beam is 14 (80 feet for the Zumwalt, 66 for the Burkes) feet wider then the Arleigh Burke class. Also, without stabilizers engaged this has been a problem for FFGs too, it's hardly as if the Zumwalt will be the only thing the USN has ever fielded that will make a few sailors toss their lunch:D.

    Interestingly, I only know two USN personnel, one active the other retired, neither is too fond of the Zumwalt. The criticism isn't against the design or even the cost, it's that the Zumwalt's been downgraded significantly from its original design due to cost-overruns, though the cost isn't the main point of contention it is the prime contributing factor. Compared to what it was supposed to be, akin to the Ticoneroga class in firepower, the Zumwalt lags badly, it doesn't even match the Burkes.

    I like the setup of the VLUs though. The single pack presents problem should it be taken out, but with the 4 cell individual packs, there's less of a chance to incapacitate a large number of cells should a strike occur. This also prevent excess sea-water from being taken on as each VLU is compartmentalized, where as the MK41 is a single massive unit.

    I like the ships, their land-attack prowess is said to equal or surpass the Burkes and Ticonderogas, but it's their ABM and Anti-aircraft capabilities that are lagging either of the previous classes.

    One problem I have is the lack of defensive measures. EW is their main defense, as they lack a CIWS and rely too much on their stealth profile. I can't find any reliable info on their ECM suite. Remember, counter-stealth evolves just as fast as stealth does, these ships wont be able to rely on their limited signatures throughout their entire life-span.

    Their close-in defensive weapons are the MK46:
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    And ESSM:
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    No RAM, SeaRAM or Phalanx on these ships, but that makes sense with their emphasis on signature suppression. They still seem under-defended to me.

    Still, the Zumwalt Class shouldn't be seen as anything other than a surface version of the Seawolf Class: A stepping stone that tests new technologies that will be integrated onto a cheaper follow-on, like the Burke Flight III.

    ...

    I'd love to have my own Sea Jet to fool around with in the Skagerrak Straight:
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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
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  5. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Its a real shame that they didn't install the full dual-band radar set for the Zumwalt. The SPY-4 would be a fantastic addition when supporting BMD for other destroyers or cruisers. Given the cost increases, its understandable that they would take it off though.

    Here is the full DBR on the Ford, SPY-3 is top, SPY-4 is bottom. Only the SPY-3 is present on the Zumwalt
    635622109623703616-DBR-radar-CVN78131117-005.jpg
     
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  6. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

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