The Navy’s Zumwalt destroyer sailed out of the dock into the Kennebec River on Monday as the vessel reached the final stages of its production. The ship is the largest destroyer ever built for the US Navy and is a formidable tool of war, with its angular profile imposing a commanding presence. Eric Wertheim, a defense consultant, said about the destroyer:
“The Zumwalt is really in a league of its own. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.”
The Zumwalt was always envisioned to be a “stealth destroyer” with its specially engineered low-slung angles designed specifically to deflect radar. The vessel is a massive 610 feet long and is designed for shore bombardment with 155mm “Advanced Gun System” that fires rockets with a range of approximately 100 miles. The Zumwalt destroyer also saves the Navy a fortune in manpower costs. Due to its advanced computer systems and automation, it only needs half the amount of sailors to man it compared with current Navy destroyers.
Some critics of the latest addition to the Navy have said that an excessive amount of new technology has been stuffed onto the Zumwait destroyer. Not to mention the massive costs associated with the project, which was almost scrapped at one point. Many locals came to see the amazing sight of the ship in the water for the first time. Unfortunately, there was no ceremonial smashing of champagne due to the recent government shutdown, but the presence of the destroyer alone was something to behold.
Amy Lent, executive director of the Maine Maritime Museum, commented on the new Zumwalt destroyer:
“It’s absolutely massive. It’s higher than the tree line on the other side. It’s an absolutely huge ship — very imposing. It’s massively dominating the waterfront,” she said.
The full inauguration of the Zumwalt destroyer will take place once the final touches have been put to the vessel.