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Zumwalt Destroyer Leaves Yard for First Set of Sea Trials

Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 7, 2015. US Navy Photo

Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 7, 2015. US Navy Photo

On Monday morning, the first-in-class Zumwalt-class destroyer left its pier at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, headed down Maine’s Kennebec River bound for the Atlantic Ocean and its first taste of saltwater.

The 16,000-ton Zumwalt (DDG-1000) departed the yard for its first set of open ocean trials — years after the ship began construction in 2008 and after several production delays.

The trials follows a four day “fast cruise” in October in which the ship did everything from rolling the shafts, bringing up and down systems, testing failure modes, testing watch station effectiveness,” Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA) told Defense News last month.
“We did everything that we could next to the pier prior to getting underway.”

Outside of releasing photos of the ship on social media and its website, the Navy did not give many details on the trials.

Zumwalt on Dec. 7, 2015. US Navy Photo

Zumwalt on Dec. 7, 2015. US Navy Photo

Zumwalt is the first of three planned ships in the $22.1 billion program that promises a next generation propulsion system that has enough energy to power future sensors and weapon systems.

However, delays in production for the ships at BIW have pushed back delivery schedules for other ships in the yard.

  • Marcd30319

    This generation’s version of the USS Norfolk (CLK-1).

    • sferrin

      Could you elaborate?

      • tpharwell

        Test Bed.

        • sferrin

          There are three of them. More like this generation’s Virginia’s.

          • johnbull

            You’re right, her profile is quite similar to the Confederate ironclads. It will be interesting to see how she does in a heavy sea at speed.

    • John B. Morgen

      A warship that caused the Navy with problems of trying classified it, at first it thought to be a light cruiser; then a frigate or a destroyer leader. The first attempt was the correct classification—a light cruiser of the USS Atlanta class category with ASW capabilities.

      • Bill

        Yes, it’s clearly a cruiser.

        • John B. Morgen

          I agreed.

    • Secundius

      @ Marcd30319.

      Further Back, to 30 January 1862. The USS Monitor…

  • orangelotus

    As an uninformed observer, I was wondering, outside of the prohibitive per unit cost, why a variant couldn’t be a replacement for the Ticonderoga class cruisers? Could someone in the know please explain?

    • sferrin

      It was suppose to be but after the cancel, redo, cancel, redo, cancel stupidity over the years they managed to explode the costs into something we can’t afford. Only to turn back to the Burkes – which had their costs exploded as well due to the same stupidity.

    • 2IDSGT

      CG(X) was supposed to replace the Tico. Zumwalt was supposed to replace the Spru-cans and serve mainly as a land-attack asset; and in any case, it only has half of its intended radar system… so it’s useless for area-defense.

    • vetww2

      It’s called SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program, Expensive)). Designed by contractors, promoted by lobbyists, funded by Congress and implemented by a sycophantic NAVSEA and SEA05, hoping for post-retirement income.

  • Adrian Ah

    There’s talk about how much this ship costs, but compared to the LCS or the F-35 lightning, it seems to be a far better buy. Let’s say this ship costs US$2bn. The F-35 is said to cost $1.5 trillion. That’s a lot of Zumwalts you could buy instead. What would you buy to replace the F-35? – the F-15SE and start up the F-22 line again.

    Why is logic so difficult to find in the military these days?

    disclaimer- I’m an armchair critic.

    • Michael Rich

      The F-35 unit cost is not 1.5 trillion, the entire program is..

    • Ric Lamigo

      simply business ??? or quality versus quantity ???? what do you think Sir ?

    • sferrin

      “disclaimer- I’m an armchair critic.”

      No need for the disclaimer. It’s painfully obvious. Cancelling F-35s to buy Zumwalts would be like. . .well, I can’t think of a comparison stupid enough to equal that. Also there is no F-22 line, nor are there F-15SEs (that aren’t “silent” anyway). Furthermore, restarting and buying F-22s and developing and buying the F-15SE would cost more than the F-35. So what are you going to buy Zumwalts with?

    • USNVO

      Clearly,
      The current estimates for the lifetime costs of the F-35 program for over 2000 of them is currently less than 1 trillion dollars over 50years. F-22s would cost way more to build and already cost way more to maintain. F-15s are more expensive now, so there is no reason to believe anything will be cheaper on newer developments that would be required. So you already have spent more, so no new ships for you. Remember, as Aesop said in his Belling the Cat story, anyone can think of an impossible plan.

    • vetww2

      I can’t swear to it, but I believe that the F-35 is 110 megabucks each. SECUNDIUS?

      • Secundius

        @ vetww2.

        And why are you directing the question to me? I haven’t said anything about the F-35 Program on THIS Website…

  • Secundius

    Don’t Shoot the Messenger, but the next Congressional 2/4/6 Cruiser Replacement plan, scheduled for 2035 to 2039. Might be PUSHED BACK to 2045…

  • John B. Morgen

    This is no destroyer but a cruiser [frigate] of 16,000 tons. The Navy has got to classify its warships correctly….

    • Keith Albee

      And, you need to get a clue.

      • John B. Morgen

        You need to clarify your non-sense comment—Keith Albee.

    • Bob Riley Patton

      Totally agree John. Why do you think they called it a DD?

      • John B. Morgen

        There could be many reasons and many of them are [NOT] valid reasons. I go by the standards that were set down by both the Washington and London Naval Treaties which are still valid for classifying warships. The problem here is that the United States Navy failed to follow those standards, which started when the Navy built the USS Norfolk (DL-1), which lead to the down fall of classifying non- aircraft carrier surface warships; furthermore, a possible misconception that cruisers should not be taken an ASW role. Maybe? However, another problem the United States Navy followed the Royal Navy’s paradigm of classifying ASW warships because the Royal Navy had the same problems with their County class [so-called guided missile destroyers). There are other possible reasons, the term destroyer sounds a lot more ominous than the term cruiser; moreover, the Navy has established a long line of building and deploying destroyers. Frankly, the term destroyer should have [NEVER] been used, which fowled up the classifications of non-aircraft carrier surface warships. However, to classify a cruiser, the warship must be 6,000 tons because this was requirement set by the naval disarmament treaties from the last century.

        • vetww2

          With all due respect, designation should reflect mission, e.g. the DD-963 and the CG-47 have the same hull design, but different missions.

          • John B. Morgen

            It would seem that the United States Navy has been operating on this premise for quite sometime; nevertheless, I would have to disagree because both the Spruance and its Ticonderoga class variant shares two common mission tasks: one ASW; two anti-surface warfare. Although the latter is more geared for AAW Fleet protection than the former. It does not justify of calling one sub-group as cruisers, while the first group is referred as destroyers..This odd method has caused the Navy to stayed in a [fog], which has caused problems. The correct method of classifying non-aircraft carrier surface warships is to stick to a tonnage rating system, than relying on weapon systems.

          • Dwimby

            Chiming in tentatively but not timidly: It seems clear that what used to be done is no longer done. I don’t mean to be simplistic, but…. The issue we’re discussing is not exactly a new phenomenon in this century (or the end of the last) is it? And, in the U.S. Navy there has been an ongoing blurring of “ship types” ESPECIALLY the destroyer with the cruiser. This is what the new reality is in spite of what all the old conventions maintained was the way to go. Personally, I would like to hear FADM Earnest J. King’s opinion on all this. I wish he were still around. (Ken)

          • John B. Morgen

            Based on what I know about the late Fleet Admiral King, he would probably rolled back his eyes in disbelief what the United States had built. The costs of a Admiral Zumwalt a lone could have built a few capital warships, but the classification would caused his skin to crawl.
            Again, the main problem here, and that is, the Navy believes that destroyers should have the sole copy right for destroying submarines, and not cruisers. Since after the Navy obtained the former German heavy cruiser, Prinz Eugen (IX 300), made extensive studies; especially, the cruiser’s hydrophone system. A system that could detect underwater sounds from great distances away. This is how the Germans were alerted by the approaching British squadron, the Hood and Prince of Wales in the Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941. Because of these studies the Navy built ASW capable cruisers Norfolk, Leahy, Bainbridge, Belknap, Truxtun, California, Virginia, Spruance, Ticonderoga, Kidd classes; plus, the large destroyers, Mitscher and Farragut classes. The naval warship designs changed, but the classifications failed to keep up with the pace. Of course, the Navy built the cruiser Long Beach, and converted three Baltimore class heavy cruisers into ASW capable cruisers.

    • Secundius

      @ John B. Morgen.

      The WW2 Atlanta class Light Cruiser, displaced 6,000-tons. Arleigh Burke class Destroyers, out weigh her by almost 3,000-tons. Linear Progression in class Sizing…

      • John B. Morgen

        Yes, I have thought about “Linear Progression” or Technology Escalate Progression as I have called it. However all warship hull sizes are still being dictated by harbors’ drafts, which still determines the displacements of warship designs.

        • Secundius

          @ John B. Morgen.

          And that why Harbor’s have Dredging Ship’s to Deep Water Excavate the Harbor’s for the Increasing “DRAFT’S” of EVER Bigger Ships. I saw a Concept Report, for a ONE-MILLION-TON SHIP! But NOTHING on What it’s Function is. I “Suspect” something akin to a “Mulberry” Causeway Vessel…

  • NavySubNuke

    I wonder if “The Poseidon Adventure” will be banned from the mess decks or shown as a training film given the concerns over the hull form…..

  • omegatalon

    The ship looks if it will tip over if it attempted to make a hard turn unless the ship looks a bit different under the waterline.

    • vetww2

      YOU GOT IT! In tests at DTMB turning basin this “Tumblehome hull,” HUNK-A-JUNK capsized in a SS5 turn. That’s why the buy was reduced to 3, which was the # whose keel was already laid.
      It goes this way:
      1. A STABLE ship INCREASES its volume on the down side, increasing its righting moment.
      2. An UNSTABLE ship, like the DD1000, DECREASES its volume, decreasing its righting moment, and, in severe cases, capsizing, which it did.