Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Newest Thing in Navy Warships

By Jessica L. Tozer

This is not your father’s Navy warship.

Well it’s not my father’s either – since he’s never owned one – but you get my point.

Check out the new digs on the Navy‘s wave of the future.  Isn’t she a beauty?  I’d like to introduce you to (the rendered conception of) the DDG 1002 Zumwalt Class Warship.  It’s the latest thing in intimidating, high tech maritime awesomeness.

Or it will be, once construction is completed.

The Zumwalt, taking shape at Bath Iron Works, is the biggest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy.  DDG 1000 is the first of a new class of warships in the US Navy’s revolutionary vision for 21st Century surface combatant designs.  What does that mean?

So glad you asked…

The ship is designed as a multi-mission destroyer able to provide independent forward presence and deterrence. It’s also designed to operate as an integral part of a joint or multi-national naval task force. The primary mission emphasis is on land attack, maritime dominance and joint interoperability.  This will enable the DDG 1000 to control the littoral battlespace and deliver more ordnance on target over a broader range of military objectives than any surface combatant ever put to sea.

Basically, it’s a multi-purpose, water-treading, techno-ship capable of handling multiple situations with equal levels of stealth, firepower and let’s face it, finesse.  No other ship balances power and class on the high seas quite like this baby.

The Zumwalt’s new technology will allow the warship to deter and defeat aggression and to maintain operations in areas where an enemy seeks to deny access, both on the open ocean and in operations closer to shore, the Navy says.  The warship is looking to get some pretty sweet features, too.  We’re talking a wave-piercing hull, electric drive propulsion, and advanced sonar.

Oh, and let’s not forget the rocket-propelled warheads that can shoot as far as 100 miles.

This thing is longer and heavier than its predecessors, by the way, but only needs half the crew size.  Why?  Well a lot of this ship will rely on automated systems.

This warship integrates numerous critical technologies, systems, and principles into a complete warfighting system. These include employment of optimal manning through human systems integration, improved quality of life, low operations and support costs, multi-spectral signature reduction, balanced warfighting design, survivability, and adaptability.

Talk about swift, silent and deadly.

“DDG 1000 is a vessel that fits within our Defense Strategic Guidance. With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability, and lower manning requirements – this is our future,” said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations.  The Zumwalt-class ships are being built with modern, modular shipbuilding methods, allowing for construction of much larger units with greater degrees of outfitting achieved prior to ship assembly.

So when does this behemoth hit the international waves?

DDG 1002 is expected to deliver to the Navy in fiscal year 2018.  It might be a few years away, but we’re already seeing a trend toward technology-driven visions for the future of the military.  What’s next?  Bullet proof armor suits?  Robots integrated into the ranks?  Illogical-but-still-awesome jet packs become standard GI issue?

Okay, maybe not the last one, but I believe that the future of the force is going to utilize the best and brightest in technology and people.

I gotta say, with this warship on the future maritime playing field, Battleship is never going to be the same.

Information for this article provided by the Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

Jessica L. Tozer is a blogger for DoDLive and Armed With Science.  She is an Army veteran an avid science fiction fan, both of which contribute to her enthusiasm for technology in the military.

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