US Navy commissions the Zumwalt, a destroyer like no other
The U.S. Navy commissioned the stealthy, futuristic-looking battleship the USS Zumwalt on Saturday, a powerful new vessel that the Navy calls its “most technologically advanced warship.”
The ship is 610 feet long, weighs almost 15,000 tons, and cost a minimum of $4.4 billion, according to the Associated Press. Its distinctive, smooth appearance minimizes its radar signature.
"This ship is an example of a larger initiative to increase operational stability and give the U.S. a strategic advantage," Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, said in a statement. "Our Navy and our Marine Corps, uniquely, provide presence -- around the globe, around the clock -- ensuring stability, reassuring allies, deterring adversaries, and providing the nation's leaders with options in times of crisis."
The highly-automated destroyer needs a crew of only 147 people, and the Associated Press reports that it will carry a variety of weapons, like cruise missiles and anti-submarine rockets. The Navy is proud of the ship’s integrated power system, which it said can produce about 78 megawatts of power, approaching the capacity of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. According to the Navy, the Zumwalt’s power system is robust enough to power its own systems “and still generate enough electricity to power a small town.”
The ship is named for Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr, who served in the Navy for more than three decades and died in 2000.
"This destroyer, like the others in our fleet, is capable of projecting power, no doubt," Mabus said, in the statement. "The Zumwalt-class is much larger than today's destroyers with a considerably larger flight deck -- enough space to operate host Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, and unmanned systems and a Vertical Launch System second to none."
After being commissioned in Baltimore, Md., the ship will travel to San Diego, Calif.
The ship’s appearance isn’t the only futuristic thing about it. Its captain has a name straight out of science fiction: James Kirk.