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Navy Launches Next-Generation Stealth Destroyer

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments
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Whatever your thoughts on the American military, it's safe to say that from a techie's perspective, they consistently make some really cool stuff. This week the U.S. is launching the first of its modern stealth destroyers.

Coming in at over 600 feet long and 14,500 tons, the ship is massive for a destroyer -- but as far as radar's concerned, it's little more than a fishing dingy. That small radar cross-section is due in large part to its harsh angle and specialized paint that the U.S. military has been using for some time in other stealth projects like the F-117 Nighthawk.

The USS Zumwalt is the first in the Zumwalt class. All of the ships in the class will be capable of multi-role support including anti-air defense and guided missile ground attack. Among other features, the ships use an integrated power system -- meaning that propulsion and the rest of the ship's functions are all tied into the same distribution. It's an interesting system, and it also serves the ship's main focus of being almost undetectable. In the same way that electric cars are spectacularly quiet, the Zumwalt's electric motors dramatically reduce the chances of its detection via sonar. Additionally, the ship uses specialized cooling systems which cut down on the heat signature. Almost makes it sound like the SSV Normandy.

All in all, the new boat really is something of a technological marvel, but that didn't come without a cost. Due to budget cuts, there were originally 32 ships of the class planned, but over time, that's been cut down to just three, causing a huge increase in the cost-per-ship, especially when research and development is taken into account. Then again, the new power system was designed to support potential expansion for free-electron lasers and rail guns, and this sentence might be the most awesome thing I'll ever write.

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  • 10 Hide
    drtweak , November 2, 2013 10:27 AM
    YOU LEFT OUT THE MOST IMPORANT PART!!!

    ITS CAPTAIN JAMES KIRK THAT WILL BE IN CONTROL!!!
  • 10 Hide
    DarkSable , November 2, 2013 11:14 AM
    Who exactly is this supposed to help us against? Any major threat is going to have satellite recon, which won't exactly not notice a giant grey thing in the water, and any target that doesn't have satellites but relies heavily on radar probably isn't enough of a threat to sea targets to merit this anyways.

    I can understand wanting to cut down noise to try to hide from submarines, which rely on their own intel rather than surface intel... but the rest of it just seems like pointlessly wasted money.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    jigawatt , November 2, 2013 10:15 AM
    "Due to budget cuts, there were originally 32 ships of the class planned, but over time, that's been cut down to just three, causing a huge increase in the cost-per-ship, especially when research and development is taken into account."

    - This sounds like the F-35 Lightning II through its development. Tons of cash dumped into it (F-35), and it only got worse since day one...
  • -8 Hide
    thechief73 , November 2, 2013 10:18 AM
    Yet people are starving, cannot find work, living in alleyways, dying because they cannot afford health care. YAY! go US. BUT, the US gov. has this big pretty ship and a whole bunch of stuff that for "national security" nobody can know about or benefit publicly from the technological developments our taxes payed for. Big corps run our gov. and the communications industry is one huge organized monopoly. The US people are sheep and need to wake up. Who are we (our gov.) so afraid of anyhow? Where is this threat we are protecting ourselves from? The only people that ARE pissed at the US is our own gov. dang fault. It's like Days of our Lives over here, but the sad thing this is real life...
  • 10 Hide
    drtweak , November 2, 2013 10:27 AM
    YOU LEFT OUT THE MOST IMPORANT PART!!!

    ITS CAPTAIN JAMES KIRK THAT WILL BE IN CONTROL!!!
  • 10 Hide
    DarkSable , November 2, 2013 11:14 AM
    Who exactly is this supposed to help us against? Any major threat is going to have satellite recon, which won't exactly not notice a giant grey thing in the water, and any target that doesn't have satellites but relies heavily on radar probably isn't enough of a threat to sea targets to merit this anyways.

    I can understand wanting to cut down noise to try to hide from submarines, which rely on their own intel rather than surface intel... but the rest of it just seems like pointlessly wasted money.
  • -4 Hide
    thechief73 , November 2, 2013 11:20 AM
    @XxXGunXxXGraveXxX China owns us and we(US gov.) made that mess in the middle east. And I don't really want to argue any of these facts I just want people to realize that all this stuff is the governments of the world bickering with each other, why do all the good people in this world have to pay the price when they are the only REAL problem.

    It's a simple choice between fear and love.
  • 0 Hide
    vern72 , November 2, 2013 11:21 AM
    You forget the most important part: it's unmanned! :-P
  • 0 Hide
    meowmix44 , November 2, 2013 11:24 AM
    MURICA!!!!!!! jk :/  This is the last thing we should be paying for in our taxes. I bet that we just want to have the best navy in the world but thats not gonna happen. Unless we have 978,000 of these ships.
  • 2 Hide
    gotrek , November 2, 2013 12:18 PM
    Anyway, guys - you keep arguing whether this is waste of money or not, but keep in mind that kind of vessels push technology forward.
  • 5 Hide
    joneb , November 2, 2013 12:39 PM
    When you result to insults and abuse your comments become meaningless.
  • 5 Hide
    eza , November 2, 2013 12:44 PM
    if you're the owner of something the size of a fishing dinghy you can now expect to get checked out at visual range a lot more frequently
  • 3 Hide
    nitrium , November 2, 2013 12:57 PM
    "Due to budget cuts, there were originally 32 ships of the class planned, but over time, that's been cut down to just three, causing a huge increase in the cost-per-ship, especially when research and development is taken into account."

    According to wikipedia, these things cost an eye-watering US$3.45B each to build (and US$7B each including R&D).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zumwalt-class_destroyer
  • -2 Hide
    Avus , November 2, 2013 1:34 PM
    US gov/military is just like a gamer nerd... got to have the best toy, everything else is secondary...
  • 0 Hide
    gotrek , November 2, 2013 1:52 PM
    @XxXGunXxXGraveXxX

    So, whet US and CCCP kept in check-mate rest of the world for 40 years it was ok, right? And when other countries get to know nuclear power, then its like "oh my god, they are gonna kill us!"
  • 2 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 2, 2013 2:09 PM
    It looks like it stepped straight of a James Bond Movie and it has ray guns and HV guns.

    Can I borrow the keys? Pleeeeaaase!
  • 6 Hide
    irish_adam , November 2, 2013 2:10 PM
    Quote:
    Who exactly is this supposed to help us against? Any major threat is going to have satellite recon, which won't exactly not notice a giant grey thing in the water, and any target that doesn't have satellites but relies heavily on radar probably isn't enough of a threat to sea targets to merit this anyways.

    I can understand wanting to cut down noise to try to hide from submarines, which rely on their own intel rather than surface intel... but the rest of it just seems like pointlessly wasted money.


    I read this comment earlier and i was going to ignore it but really?

    are you retarded? yeah of course they'll notice a big grey ship, its not like they've been painting it that colour for over 100 years to blend it in or anything. Do you even know how satalite recon works? for stationary targets its great, for moving targets its useless. You cant just pick an area of sea and look at it at will, you have to wait for your satellite to fly over it and you only get a certain time frame while it orbits and comes back around. Even if the satellite did happen to fly over it, its a grey ship on a grey sea, i mean do you have any idea how big the sea is? It would be pot luck if you found it and by the time you realise you had found it it would have moved miles, you cant track moving objects with satellite imaging.

    /rant
  • 4 Hide
    kyee7k , November 2, 2013 2:20 PM
    The Zumwalt was designed to replace the Ticonderoga class cruiser. The high cost is the result of ill-defined mission parameters as defined by both the senators and congresspeople at first wanting a replacement (which is what the navy needs), then a BMD platform demanded by these elected officials onto the admirals (who consequently need sponsorship for promotion). That means that mid-build, the entire ship had to be redesigned for BMD, which added significant costs to this model. Add snowball effect, and the current Zumwalt iteration is overbudget and mission-wise has much less offensive power than the proposed original design.
    It will still perform very well, but the 3 ships of the class are technology demonstrators used to gain knowledge on new propulsion tech, tumblehome shape, and a much more powerful radar system. The U.S. Navy will use this knowledge to build their future fleets of Burkes or Ticonderoga replacements, just as they used the Seawolf submarines as a demonstrator for the Virginia-class.

    Frankly, because of the size and firepower, I can't tell if it is a cruiser, destroyer, battlecruiser, or battleship (due to the two 155-mm cannons).;D
  • 0 Hide
    Afrospinach , November 2, 2013 2:39 PM
    Vern I am pretty sure it has a crew of just over 150 people - not unmanned but still relatively small.
  • 4 Hide
    10tacle , November 2, 2013 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    USA has the greatest terrorist army on the planet! USA trains terrorist on US soil at the School of the Americas. US armed forces, currently deployed overseas, should all the shot dead as the cold blooded terrorists they are. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!


    You have been reported for an abusive/inflammatory post. Have a nice day.

  • -1 Hide
    meowmix44 , November 2, 2013 2:57 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    USA has the greatest terrorist army on the planet! USA trains terrorist on US soil at the School of the Americas. US armed forces, currently deployed overseas, should all the shot dead as the cold blooded terrorists they are. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!


    You have been reported for an abusive/inflammatory post. Have a nice day.


    Nice 2500K you have there.
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