The biggest, baddest, and most expensive destroyer ever built by the US Navy is headed out to sea for testing. The $3 billion ship represents a new class of destroyers and will be able to kick the ass of any ship it encounters – be it Chinese, Russian, Klingon, or Romulan.
I was secretly hoping they’d named the ship Enterprise, but instead the ship will be christened Zumwalt in honor of former Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Two more stealth destroyers, the future Lyndon B. Johnson and Michael Monsoor, are currently under construction in Maine. While the Navy had originally planed to construct 32 Zumwalt-class ships, that number was forced down to 3 by the exorbitant construction costs.
The US Zumwalt weighs in at 15,000 tons and measures 80 feet by 610 feet – but is still 50x harder to spot than an ordinary destroyer. The warship “is a stealthy ship with a minimal radar signature and an intrinsically quiet tumblehome hull form and wave-piercing bow,” reports contractor General Dynamics.
It doens’t run on dilithium crystals, but it is capable of absorbing hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the sea to create its own fuel. The behemoth can generate 78 megawatts of power, making it “suitable for deployment of directed energy beam weapons and the electromagnetic railgun, both of which are under intensive development.”
The Zumwalt’s state of the art weaponry has a 125-mile range and can fire projectiles up to 7.5x the speed of sound. The guys at General Dynamics are still perfecting the drone-targeting laser and electromagnetic railgun that will be added to the ship before its official launch in December.
The Enterprise – I mean the Zumwalt – can accommodate 2 MH60R helicopters and 3 vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicles.
Captain Kirk and his handpicked crew of 143 men and women will be testing the futuristic ship until its official commissioning on October 15th in Baltimore. “Zumwalt’s crew has diligently trained for months in preparation of this day and they are ready and excited to take charge of this ship on behalf of the US Navy,” said Kirk in a press release.
According to navy.mil:
Captain Kirk is a native of Bethesda, Maryland and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990 and has served in a variety of afloat and ashore billets as a Surface Warfare Officer.
He has served afloat on destroyers, cruisers, frigates and staffs including USS Fife (DD 991), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Hué City (CG 66), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), and as a Gas Turbine Inspector on the staff of Commander, Pacific Fleet. His most recent sea duty includes command of USS De Wert (FFG 45) and Operations Officer for Carrier Strike Group Seven, Ronald Reagan Strike Group.
Ashore, Captain Kirk has served as Executive Assistant to the Navy’s Chief of Legislative Affairs, Action Officer on the Joint Staff, and Executive Assistant to the Director of Surface Warfare (OPNAV N96). He has attended both the U.S. Naval War College and U. S. Army War College graduating with Masters Degrees in National Security Studies. He is currently serving as the commanding officer of Pre-Commissioning Unit Zumwalt (DDG 1000).
Editor’s Note: In case you didn’t notice, the author is a trekkie, and really wanted to write this story!