Largest US destroyer heads to sea

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Thorlifter, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I just wonder if the Captain's middle name is Tiberius. LOL

    BATH, Maine (AP) — The nation's largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer will join the Navy with a crew that's the smallest of any destroyer built since the 1930s thanks to extensive automation.

    The stealthy Zumwalt departed Wednesday from Bath Iron Works to head to its commissioning ceremony with a crew of 147 officers and sailors that was praised by their skipper for their preparation over the past three years to get the first-in-class warship ready for duty.

    "On this ship, teamwork is at a premium. The three things this crew exemplifies is high level of technical expertise, great teamwork and then the toughness to get done what needs to get done," Navy Capt. James Kirk said before the ship maneuvered down the Kennebec River to sea.

    The 610-foot destroyer once headed out for sea trials in a snowstorm, and hundreds of people gathered to watch Wednesday as it headed into the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine while leaving Maine for good.

    The churning ocean with seas up to 14 feet high near Cape Cod won't prevent the Zumwalt from paying a visit Thursday to Newport, Rhode Island.

    The sleek warship will turn heads, no doubt.

    It features an angular shape to minimize its radar signature, an unconventional wave-piercing hull and a composite deckhouse that hides radar and other sensors. It boasts a powerful new gun system that can unload 600 rocket-powered projectiles on targets more than 70 miles away.

    It weighs in at nearly 15,000 tons, about 50 percent heavier than current destroyers. But the crew size is half of the 300 personnel of those destroyers.



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    The future USS Zumwalt heads down the Kennebec River after leaving Bath Iron Works Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in Bath, Maine. The nation's biggest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer is going to join the Navy with half the normal crew size thanks to unprecedented automation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    Heavy automation of fire suppression, flood control and other systems means fewer sailors are required, part of a trend in the Navy. The new Ford-class aircraft carriers will sail with several hundred fewer crew members.

    David Aitken, the Zumwalt's fire control chief, said all sailors are cross-trained, but there's more sharing of tasks on the Zumwalt.

    "We all work together because there are fewer of us," said the chief petty officer, who's the primary supervisor for sailors who operate the ship's weapon systems. He said he prefers the arrangement because there's more work to do and more systems to learn.

    But some are concerned that the Navy could be going too far in reducing the number of sailors. Commanding officers like to have an "extra margin" to account for injuries or missions that could leave the crew depleted, said retired Vice Adm. Pete Daly, CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute.

    The Zumwalt, Daly said, has the smallest crew size since the Farragut-class built in the 1930s, which featured a similar complement of sailors. And those ships were tiny in comparison to the Zumwalt, he added.

    The Zumwalt's crew is constantly talked up by Kirk, who wants to make sure the highly trained sailors are not overshadowed by the vessel's technology.

    But it's hard to escape the ship's gee-whiz factor.

    The bridge looks like something from "Star Trek" with two chairs surrounded by nearly 360 degrees of video monitors, with inevitable comparisons of the Zumwalt to the Starship Enterprise and the skipper to the fictional Captain Kirk.

    The real Kirk shrugs off the Starfleet jokes with a smile.

    "Certainly I have been ribbed every now and then with someone saying, 'You're going where no man has gone before, on this class of ship,'" Kirk joked.
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    wow, what ship. The bow reminds me of a pre-dreadnought.

    Wonder how she compares to a conventional ship for cost.

    And I worry that at 15000 tons whether she is economic to undertake the traditional escort and ASW functions given to destroyers or whether she herself would now be a legitimate target for a torpedo or cruise missile
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Good questions Parsifal. Do you know what modern technologies or tactics there are for anti torpedo measures? Is it still just "hope to get out of the way" or do ships have anti torpedo weapons?
     
  4. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    As for your question about cost, the previous destroyer class, the Arleigh Burke, cost $1.8 billion per ship. The Zumwalt class is closer to $4 billion.

    According to Wiki, we have 62 Arleigh Burke destroyers and 7 more being built.

    For the high cost of the Zumwalt (from Wiki) Originally 32 ships were planned, with the $9.6 billion research and development costs spread across the class, but the quantity was reduced to 24, then to 7, and finally to 3, greatly increasing the cost-per-ship.

    So my understanding is the Arleigh Burke ships will continue with standard destroyer roles (escort and support) while the Zumwalt will essentially replace the battleships with a focus on land attack from their 600 rockets that have a 70 mile range.

    But I'm not the expert like you guys. I'm only getting information from the article above and from Wiki.
     
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  5. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    There were concerns on how she would do in rough seas, I'm curious about that..
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    this is outside what I know. Its a problem. Called getting old.......
     
  7. Token

    Token Active Member

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    Naval vessels have had both active and passive techniques, a well as maneuvers, for defeating torpedoes for many years. However, like every other aspect of Electronic Warfare, things tend to leap-frog. You develop a technique to respond to a specific type or family of torpedo, field it, only to find out the torpedo makers have advanced their craft also.

    AN/SLQ-25 and -25A would be examples of active techniques. Combining these kinds of devices with systems similar to Prairie-Masker improve performance.

    T!
     
  8. Token

    Token Active Member

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    #9 Token, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016

    Nothing will replace the battleships for land attack / bombardment, and no battleships have been in service for quite a while now. It can be argued battleships have no place in a modern navy, as part of their job was to slug it out ship to ship in surface action, and that aspect of naval warfare is pretty much gone.


    The whole classification thing for Naval combatants is kind of ethereal these days.


    Pre-WW II things were pretty standardized, when someone said a heavy cruiser you knew the approximate displacement and the size of the guns, so you knew its ability to deal out and take damage. The same thing for battleship and destroyer escort. But post WW II, since the advent of missile ships, these lines are very blurry and it seems the designation of class is a matter of convenience, or maybe to placate funding sources, like congress.


    Arleigh Burkes are in essence light cruisers, based on their sea and land attack capabilities, despite being titled destroyers. Ticos are heavy cruisers by the same guidelines, even though they were built on a destroyer hull. Take the missiles off either of these class ships and you have in essence a very large frigate each with two 5 inch 54’s. Of course one thing to remember is that the Spruance destroyer hull the Ticos are built on was the size of many cruisers when the Sprue boats were introduced.


    The Zumwalt will be bigger (both longer and wider), heavier (more than 50% greater displacement), and heavier armed (more missiles and heavier guns, although the RIM-162 is slightly shorter ranged than the late block RIM-66 on the Ticos) than either the Burkes or the Ticos.


    The Zumwalt is a cruiser, despite being called a destroyer. Put one more set of VLS cells on her and she outguns anything in the US Navy by a substantial margin.


    With the decommissioning of the last Perry boats last year the US Navy finds itself for the first time in its history without a Frigate or Destroyer Escort class vessel, regardless of name, and for the first time since WW II without such a ship in name. A lightly armed, fast, inexpensive (and so large numbers) vessel, capable of ASW and AAW on the move eitherwith a task group or convoy, and as sole protection for small convoys or individual high value ships. A Zumwalt, Tico, or Burke, can, of course, do these missions, but they are major assets, and relatively few in number, to be assigned the protection of say a two or three ship convoy, or the escort of a single ship.


    Some have pointed to the Littoral Combat Ship (either class) as taking on this role, but that is unlikely to do the job well. The LCS’s have small guns and no AAW missiles other than point defense RIM-116 (and that only on the Freedom class), she cannot protect other ships from ASCM attack. LCS’s have no ability to shoot another (say attacking) ship over the horizon, or for that matter any target of any type more than about 12 miles away. The escort protection bubble of these ships are very small, a fraction the size of the now gone FFG-7 ships. The ASW capability lacking, at best. And she does not have the bunkerage for extended high speed blue water cruising as a screening ship. The Independence class LCS’s will be redesignated FF sometime in the future, and some of these shortcomings addressed. I guess we will see how that goes.

    T!
     
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