If everything goes right, if the hardware and software all seem good and the weather cooperates, the revolutionary destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) could taste the sea for the first time in less than a month. It’ll be a moment many years in the making.
“We’re at the stage of construction where there is very little production going on. The ship is built,” Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top official for research, acquisition and development, said Nov. 5.
Featuring a tumblehome hull optimized for stealth, a new propulsion and power distribution system, an ambitious software environment that ties together nearly every system on the ship, and a reduced crew, the Zumwalt has been under construction since 2008 in the tiny town of Bath, Maine, at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard of General Dynamics. Development and design started much earlier than that.
”Everything is new,” Stackley said in an interview with Defense News. “From the propulsion plant, the power distribution – the whole integrated power system – the extraordinarily unique features of the hull form that provide the degree of stealth and survivability, the radar system, the degree of automation that’s incorporated into the ship to enable the reduced-size crew – it’s all new.
“We’re at that stage,” he added, where “all of that is coming together in the test program.”