A reporter for Defense News is the first to spend time on the USS Zumwalt as it conducted builders trials off the coast of Maine. The 610 foot long, 16,000 ton stealth destroyer, the first of her class, is undergoing extra testing before delivery to the U.S. Navy.
The Zumwalt’s iconic slab-sided profile, in which no radar antennas, weapons or masts are visible, reduces the ship’s radar cross-section. Although most recent U.S. Navy surface ships incorporate some level of stealth, Zumwalt is by far the stealthiest. This has meant some pretty dramatic departures in warship design, which veteran reporter Christopher Cavas takes note of.
One of the reasons why the ship is so large-up to fifty percent larger than the previous Arleigh Burke-class destroyers-is that everything has to be hidden from radar. Despite Zumwalt’s unarmed appearance the ship packs two 155-millimeter long-range guns and 80 missile silos. Although the ship can carry out most missions, including anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, it will be particularly adept at smashing targets on the ground with its two guns. For now however, the Zumwalt’s weapons are currently inactive and isn’t carrying any missiles.