Wednesday, December 9, 2015

America's Newest Warship

PCU Zumwalt at Bath Iron Works
She's big and futuristic looking. She's also expensive (> $3.5 billion) but designed to be stealthy and capable. We shall see. I am familiar with this ship, I've worked on the project on and off for 12 years. I hope she fares well.

To me, she looks pretty awesome...

Let's hope her performance is as well!

Zumwalt-class specs:
  • Displacement: 14,564 tons
  • Length: 600 ft
  • Beam: 80.7 ft
  • Draft: 27.6 ft
  • Propulsion: 2 × Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines driving Curtiss-Wright electric generators, 2 × Rolls-Royce RR4500 turbine generators, 2 × propellers driven by electric motors Total: 105,000 shp
  • Speed: 30.3 knots
  • Complement: 142
  • Sensors and processing systems: AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) (X-band, scanned array), Volume Search Radar (VSR) (S-band, scanned array)
  • Armament: 20 × MK 57 Vertical Launch System (VLS) modules, with 4 vertical launch cells in each module, 80 cells total. Each cell can hold one or more missiles, depending on the size of the missiles, including: RIM-67 Standard Missile 2, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), BGM-109 Tomahawk, RUM-139 Vertical Launch (VL) Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC), 2 × 155 mm Advanced Gun System 920 × 155 mm total; 600 in automated store + Auxiliary store room with up to 320 rounds (non-automatic) as of April 2005, 70-100 Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) rounds planned as of 2005 of total
  • Aircraft carried: 2 SH-60 LAMPS helicopters or 1 MH-60R helicopter, 3 MQ-8 Fire Scout Vertical Take-off and landing tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) W  
Arleigh-Burke-class specs (USS Spruance DDG-111):
  • Displacement: 9,200 tons
  • Length: 510 ft
  • Beam: 66 ft
  • Draft: 33 ft
  • Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 100,000 shp
  • Speed: over 30 knots
  • Range: 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
  • Complement: 260 officers and enlisted
  • Electronic warfare & decoys: AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
  • Armament: 1 × 32 cell, 1 × 64 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems, 96 × RIM-66 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-ASROC, missiles 1 × 5 in/62 (127 mm/62), 2 × 25 mm, 4 × 12.7 mm guns 2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes 1 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
  • Aircraft carried: 2× SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters W
Side by side (Source)

I know and have worked with some of the engineers riding this ship on her first trip under her own power. Let's hope all the hard work by her designers, builders, and crew pay off.

To Captain James A. Kirk and the men and women of PCU Zumwalt - May you ever have fair winds and following seas!

A Force for Peace
You can read more here and here. (Good photos too!)


  1. I await her performance in heavy seas. Also: Her CO is really James Kirk?

    1. I know that a lot of testing was done on that hull form (models, computer simulations, etc.) but yeah, how is she going to handle in sea state 5 and up?

      Yes, her captain's name is really James Kirk.

    2. But not James Tiberius Kirk. Lost opportunity their Captain!

  2. She is impressive looking and I hope she meets all expectations during her
    trials. No CIWS?

  3. I have been watching her for years each time I cross the Kennebec River bridge by BIW. I have several serious concerns. First, and foremost, is that virtually the whole thing is completely new, and untested systems. I suspect that it will take years to shake down all of the issues, large and small, that are sure to arise. Secondly, I suspect that she will be the DCA's worst nightmare. As we found out years ago, stealth airplanes CAN be detected and shot down. It will probably be the same for stealth ships. And it sounds like much of her structure is balsa and aluminum foil. And, last, but surely not least, is that with a crew that small I don't see how they will have sufficient manpower to handle damage control, let alone routine maintenance.

    1. Crew size has been increased since the original plan, pretty much for the reasons you state.

      Still not sure if automation can be relied on as much as the designers hope.

  4. My tin can (1944 vintage) began as 295 ft, 2,200 tons, and a crew of 260±. It got lengthened to 365 ft in the mid-'60s, and the crew complement increased to 295 or so.

    To see one this large - the size of a CGM - with so few crewmen onboard makes me wonder what happens when Main Control drops the load, or systems don't work as advertised, or fail at the critical moment, or ...

    1. I think you have a good grasp of the issues Rev.

  5. I'm gonna withhold my opinion other than to say it's a far cry from the Gearing, Sumner, or Fletcher class can.

    1. No argument from me, Skip. She is designed with a completely different mission in mind.

    2. I have to keep resisting the urge to call it the Elmo.

      That said, it seems the entire military, with the exception of the Marines, has a different mission.

  6. Any provision for rail guns should development on them progress?

  7. So where's the petition to ask the Captain to change his middle name to Tiberius?

  8. Very impressive! I hope she can hold her own in the scaled back Navy Obama is leaving us.

    1. I have no idea where the Navy is headed or what they plan on doing when they get there. The Air Force is already seemingly going to Hell in a hand basket, the Army is being gutted and only the Marines still seem to "get it."

      I fear for my country.

  9. I would ask, 'what's it going to do? and 'where's it going to do it?' but I suspect I won't like the answers. I suppose I should know the answers but I'm still trying to figure out what role the LCS is going to play in naval warfare since it doesn't have any weapons, no legs, no sustainment, no mission, no role in a Battle Group or even an Expeditionary Group. It really is a mystery. Ah well, with luck we will all know the answers in 5 to 10 years....unless it has ECDIS and meets the same fate as Guardian on some mislaid reef.

    1. I think the Zumwalt-class has a place, perhaps as just a test bed, but then why build just three? (And yes, there is talk of cancelling the third even though it is already in work.) LCS is most emphatically not a warship. I have no idea what she is nor what she is supposed to do in a fight.

      We are a nation with no direction, led by people with no clue. It sickens me, it saddens me.

  10. My nephew Marc, is a Propulsion engineer and was aboard for the first tour on Blue Water. He seemed to have a good trip.

    Phil, Msgt, WCS, USAF, Ret.

    1. Good to know Phil. Let your nephew know we appreciate his service.

      (We must have some friends in common, you being an old WCS MSgt, as am I.)

    2. you´ll find some Knuckle draggers here. :-) - WCS F4 Phantom

    3. Just so happens I'm a member.


  11. Well I'm an ex-zoomie, not a swabbie, but even "I" can see that this "THING" is going to prove an absolute disaster. Not only NOT a "jack of all trades" it is ALSO a "master of none." Curtis is right...a disaster waiting to happen..


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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