Zumwalt Destroyer Moving Toward Commissioning


The Navy gave a first look inside the stealthy and futuristic Zumwalt destroyer on Friday during the ship’s first port stop at a Rhode Island naval station.

160908-N-CS971-005 NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 8, 2016) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) arrives at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island during its maiden voyage from Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Bath, Maine. The port visit marks Zumwalt's first stop before the ship ultimately sails to her new homeport of San Diego. During the transit, the ship is scheduled to take part in training operations, a commissioning ceremony in Baltimore and various additional port visits. Zumwalt is named for former Chief of Operations Elmo R. Zumwalt and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Haley Nace/Released)

The 610-foot-long warship has an angular shape to minimize its radar signature and cost more than $4.4 billion. It’s the most expensive destroyer built for the Navy. It’s headed from Naval Station Newport to Baltimore, where it will be commissioned in October before going to its homeport in San Diego. It was built at Bath Iron Works in Maine.

It is on its way to its commissioning in Baltimore on Oct. 15. The USS Zumwalt is docked at Naval Station Newport on Thursday after its arrival from Maine. The first of three Zumwalt class destroyers, the Zumwalt is about 1½ times the size of the previous Arleigh Burke class destroyers but is manned by only 147 sailors, about half the size of a Burke crew.


Interestingly enough, we blogged about this as a “ship of the future” in 2014:

NAVY’s Stealth Ship of the future: Zumwalt


This link discuss the third Zumwalt ship. Navy consideration of scrapping third ship of Zumwalt-class destroyer to save money.




The following was posted to USNA-AT-LARGE Yahoo group and was written by Roger Barnett, Professor Emeritus, Naval War College.

Visited Zumwalt yesterday–not USS Zumwalt yet.  (That happens on October 15 in Baltimore:


Local news write-up here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/122348/State%20of%20the%20art%20ship%20visits%20Naval%20Station%20Newport%20%7C%20Page%20One%20%7C%20newportri.com.pdf

Wore my USS Texas  (BB-35) shirt because I was interested in a comparison of that battleship and the new destroyer.  Here’s a bare-bones look at size, complement, and cost:

Zumwalt (2016)     USS Texas (1914)
Length                610ft              573ft
Beam                   81ft               95ft
Displacement     16,000T        27,000T
Complement       147                1,042
Cost                     ≈$4b              $11m in 1912 (≈$275m today)

•  Toured the ship with a group of 25.  Was onboard for about 30 minutes, toured forecastle–no ground tackle in view; bridge–3 watchstanders when ship is underway, (also three watchstanders in engineering, I was told)  very poor visibility from small windows, but large video screens above the windows, all the way around.  Not possible to position lookouts out in the elements.  External visibility must be minimal at night.  Then to Combat:  About 15 workstations in large room, about 20 feet high.  CO’s battlestation on centerline of space, 2/3ds of way back.  Large video screens all around.

•  Ship has complement of 147.  There is no such thing as a separate condition 3; ship is always at condition 3 when underway–owing to automation, no additional stations to fill.

•  No non-rated aboard. All enlisted are E-4 to E-9.  Enlisted live in 4-person compartments, each with its own head.  Officers–except CO, XO, Unit CDR, and Chief of Staff–and most senior CPO’s in 2-person staterooms, en suite.  Ship has about 60 heads (!), which are cleaned by occupants.  I did not ask who cleans CO’s and Unit CDR’s heads.

•  Weapons: 80 VLS launch cells located on the periphery of the ship–outside the lifelines, which are removed when the ship is underway–in the forward third of the ship.  Also two 155mm advanced gun systems in two mounts forward and two 30-mm gun systems that are for defense against small craft swarm tactics (https://news.usni.org/2014/08/05/navy-swaps-anti-swarm-boat-guns-ddg-1000s).  Can embark two MH-60 helos; can also carry drones, which would be embarked as a detachment with controllers, but not simultaneously with helos.  Can carry two RHIBs.  Ship had only one aboard as we saw when we visited the boat deck.  Tour guide said they were investigating loading V-22 Ospreys, but there was an issue with the exhausts damaging the nonskid on the flight deck.  (NFI)

•  Very large composite superstructure, housing SPY-radar system, must be vulnerable to attack with high velocity frag warheads.  SPY not yet installed.  Small navigation radars fore and aft are temporary until SPY system is installed while ship is in San Diego.

•  Ship’s firefighting suite uses fresh water.  Officer conducting tour said he did not know why, except that salt water was more conductive and more damaging to electronics than fresh water.  This was an eye-opener for me, who tends to believe that a fire aboard ship takes precedence to concerns about harming the electronic suite.  The mindset, however, is that the electronic system is life, and without it you will be sure to die, so it is always the top priority.  If someone knows more about this than I do, please enlighten!

•  Electric drive; gas turbine prime movers.

•  Other specs well laid out


•  Ship class at inception was for 32 ships, now the plan is to build 3.  Follows fairly closely the fate of the B-2 bomber.


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