General Dynamics Bath Iron Works on Monday successfully launched the Navy’s first Zumwalt-class destroyer at their Bath, Maine shipyard. The ship, the future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), will be the first of three ships in the Navy’s newest destroyer class, designed for littoral operations and land attack.
The ship began the transition from Bath Iron Works’ land-based construction facility to a floating dry dock on Friday. Once loaded into the dry dock, the dock was flooded and the ship was removed from its cradle. By late Monday, the dock had been flooded and the ship was floated off and tied to a pier on the Kennebec River.
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“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,” said Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships. “Due to meticulous planning and execution, the operation went very smoothly. I’m extremely pleased with the results and applaud the combined efforts of the Navy-industry team.”
Construction began on DDG 1000 in February 2009 is currently more than 87 percent complete.
Bath Iron Works will deliver the ship to the Navy in late 2014 and she is expected to reach initial operating capability in 2016.
The Navy has incorporated many new technologies into the ship’s unique tumblehome hull, including an all-electric integrated power system and an Advanced Gun System, designed to fire rocket-powered, precision projectiles 63-nautical miles.
The shape of the superstructure and arrangement of antennas significantly reduces the ship’s radar cross section, the Navy says, making the ship less visible to enemy radar at sea. The design also allows for optimal manning with a standard crew size of 130 and an aviation detachment of 28 Sailors thereby decreasing lifecycle operations and support costs.
The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974.