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Navy Launches Next-Generation Stealth Destroyer

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.

  • jigawatt
    "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...
    Reply
  • thechief73
    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...
    Reply
  • drtweak
    YOU LEFT OUT THE MOST IMPORANT PART!!!

    ITS CAPTAIN JAMES KIRK THAT WILL BE IN CONTROL!!!
    Reply
  • yeah, sweden has had similar stuff for years. go america, go (get a burger...)
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    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.
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  • thechief73
    @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.
    Reply
  • vern72
    You forget the most important part: it's unmanned! :-P
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  • meowmix44
    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.
    Reply
  • Anyway, guys - you keep arguing whether this is waste of money or not, but keep in mind that kind of vessels push technology forward.
    Reply
  • joneb
    When you result to insults and abuse your comments become meaningless.
    Reply