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Bath Launches First Zumwalt

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Zumwalt (DDG-1000) at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine. NAVSEA Photo

Zumwalt (DDG-1000) at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine. NAVSEA Photo

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.

  • Ruckweiler

    $3.5 billion dollars for a destroyer!?!?!? Read that the program was going to eventually build 20 but due to the expense there’ll only be three?!? Admiral Zumwalt, if he were here, would be appalled at the insanity of this program that bears his name.

  • Peter

    I noticed quite a few reports on this launching, but none of the articles seem to detail the ship. So I take it that the $3.5B USS Zumwalt class has no…

    * Torpedo tubes? Seems to have sonar, but no TT means the only ASW defense comes from the MH-60Rs, IF the MH60Rs carry torpedoes. Does it carry ASROCs?

    * CIWS? Is there RAM, 20mm Phalanx, MK38 MOD2s, or .50cals? Are there any machine guns or CIWS on this ship, or are they all hidden within the superstructure? So this new destroyer is only good for long-distance strike and has no defenses against close-in threats?
    * Any room for expansion such as laser weapons systems?
    * Any RIBs, Underwater Robotic Vehicles, lifeboats, yachts, etc.?
    * Any kevlar or armored protection over vital ship areas?

    USS Zumwalt sure looks like a nice ship, but it is (or may be) lacking certain systems that the Burkes have. Some investigative journalism could uncover the answers to the above.

  • NewShimmer76

    This is a great example of the Navy’s misguided gold-plated strategy. On 15,000 ton displacement the Zumwalt mounts one high-tech 155 mm (6 inch) gun. On the same displacement, the post-WWII Des Moines class heavy cruiser mounted nine semi-automatic 8-inch guns. With each gun firing up to 10 times per minute, the Des Moines could fire 90 x 260 lb shells per minute, for a weight of fire of 23,400 lb.s per minute; and that’s just from the main armament. Which ship really provides the most fire support? The Zumwalt trades firepower and just about everything else for stealth. By giving up lots of offensive firepower for stealth, the Navy has already done most of the enemy’s job, if that job is to diminish the hitting power of the U.S. Navy.

  • OLD GUY

    I previously wrote, “My old boss,”Bud” Zumwalt must be spinning up in CNO heaven because this monstrosity was named for him. I’m just too tired to repeat my previous posts on iit. PLEASE take the time to peruse other DD1000 articles for the comments, if you haven’t already read them.

  • Secundius

    With the Rheinmetall 6.1-inch (155mm/52-caliber) MONARC, MOdular Naval ARtillery Concept, Gun System and a LRLAP Projectile. You can hit targets a far away as 73.86nm.