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US Navy’s Lethal New Destroyer Completes Builder’s Trials

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US Navy’s Lethal New Destroyer Completes Builder’s Trials

The destroyer Zumwalt is back in port after completing builder’s trials.

US Navy’s Lethal New Destroyer Completes Builder’s Trials
Credit: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy’s next generation guided missile destroyer USS Zumwalt returned to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine after successfully completing builder’s trials, according to a U.S. Navy press release published by USNI News.

“DDG 1000 (ZUMWALT) returned to Bath, Maine, after successfully conducting four days of at-sea Builder’s Trials,” the statement reads. During the trials, experts “tested several ship systems including key propulsion and auxiliary systems as well as boat operations.”

The tests in particular focused on the ship’s Advanced Induction Motor and the so-called Integrated Propulsion System.

“These trials also served as a unique opportunity for the crew to train side-by-side with representatives from Industry,” the press release notes. “The Navy will continue to assess system performance over the coming weeks in preparation for Acceptance Trials next month.”

The USS Zumwalt is to be handed over to the U.S. Navy for inspection and acceptance trials next month. The inspection and trials will only involve the ship’s hull, as well as its mechanical and electrical systems. After the ship’s delivery and acceptance it will be transferred to San Diego, where the majority of the Zumwalt’s combat systems will be installed.

The lead ship of the U.S. Navy’s new destroyer class already conducted sea-tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean in December 2015. The April rough-weather trials to assess the seaworthiness of the ship will be of particular importance given the controversy surrounding the ship’s design.

As I reported last week (See: “US Navy’s Lethal New Destroyer Heads for Final Sea Trials”): “Naval experts have repeatedly raised concerns over the ship’s so-called tumblehome hull and how it will impact the ship’s ability to stay afloat during bad weather periods.”

However, the U.S. Navy notes that the “tumblehome ship design has provided a wide array of advancements” including “making the ship harder to detect by enemies at sea.” The Navy also argues that “[t]he design also allows for optimal manning with a standard crew size of 175 sailors, with an air detachment of 28 thereby decreasing lifecycle operations and support costs.”

Specifically designed for land-attack missions, the USS Zumwalt will be one of the most heavily armed surface ships in the world, capable of striking its targets far inland. “Each ship features a battery of two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) firing Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) that reach up to 63 nautical miles [72 miles, 115 kilometers], providing a three-fold range improvement in naval surface fires coverage,” according to the U.S. Navy website.

The ship is slated to achieve initial operational capability in October.