The US Navy's largest destroyer and first Zumwalt-Class vessel, the U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG 1000), was successfully launched yesterday out of a General Dynamics facility in Bath, Maine.
At a total estimated cost of around $7 billion, the 610-foot-long ship displaces 15,610 long tons of water at up to 30 knots as it's propelled by two Rolls-Royce turbines and run by a crew of 148.
When the Zumwalt sees duty it will carry one MH60R helicopter and either three VTUAVs (unmanned helicopters) or another MH60R. It packs an intimidating host of weapons including projectiles capable of traveling 63 nautical miles. The Russian apartment-building shape is specifically designed to deter detection from radar.
Named for Admiral Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., chief of naval operations from 1970 to '74, the Zumwalt is the first of three planned vessels that will "triple naval surface fires coverage as well as tripling capability against anti-ship cruise missiles... [and improve] strike group defense 10-fold" according to the Navy.
Construction was commenced in February '09, and the vessel isn't expected to reach operating capability until 2016, but apparently the bolts are tight enough for the water-based phase of assembly.
The ship will remain in the hands of developers until late 2014, at which point it will be handed over to the Navy for armament, testing, and probably a ceremonial singing of that Village People song. No, the other one.
If you're interested, a wealth of technical information on this leviathan can be found on Raytheon's website.