With little fanfare or pomp, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) floated the first of the next-generation Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-1000), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced on Tuesday.
The almost 15,000 ton ship was floated at the BIW yard on Monday to continue the rest of the construction on the ship that is currently 87 percent complete, NAVSEA said in a Tuesday statement.
“This is the largest ship Bath Iron Works has ever constructed and the Navy’s largest destroyer. The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity,” Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships said in a statement. “Due to meticulous planning and execution, the operation went very smoothly.”
The Navy scaled back the launch ceremony due to the government shutdown, according to several press reports.
The ship will be the first of three ships planned for the class. The class was originally slated to be a replacement for the Arleigh Burke destroyer (DDG-51) before the class was truncated to three hulls. The Navy plans to have the ship serve in a surface fire support role. The offensive centerpiece of the ship is the 155 mm Advanced Gun System (AGS) that will fire a rocket assisted guided projectile from more than 60 nautical miles away.
The Navy’s surface fire support has declined since the retirement of the storied Iowa-class (BB-61) shortly after the first Gulf War in the 1990s.