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The Military Transportation United States Technology

Largest Destroyer Built For Navy Headed To Sea For Testing (ap.org) 331

An anonymous reader writes: The first Zumwalt-class destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, headed out to sea today. Departing from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, the ship left to undergo sea trials. The AP reports: "The ship has electric propulsion, new radar and sonar, powerful missiles and guns, and a stealthy design to reduce its radar signature. Advanced automation will allow the warship to operate with a much smaller crew size than current destroyers. All of that innovation has led to construction delays and a growing price tag. The Zumwalt, the first of three ships in the class, will cost at least $4.4 billion."
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Largest Destroyer Built For Navy Headed To Sea For Testing

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    A nice book about this ship and its class in an alternate future is Ghost Fleet.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Fleet-Novel-Next-World/dp/0544142845

    • The Zumwalt being in it is part of the eye-candy of a brilliantly researched futuristic
      setting where China attacks the US and our high-tech stuff turns against us.

      Awesome writing, good facts, great insight, and a well-developed plot make it
      a must-read.

      I agree with the OP!!!

      E

      • by anzha ( 138288 )
        Its a freakin awful book. Any hacker of any stripe out to have howled in the hilarity of the whole thing. Good grief. The whole Chinese hacker screamed, "This is Unix! I know this!" The whole book was awful on the same level. It didn't have to be. That the authors claimed to have researched the book was...unbelievable.
    • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @09:38PM (#51077565) Homepage Journal

      This "futuristic" hull design isn't anything new. The French did this already, long ago. They sold a small fleet of these "rollover" design ships to Russia. And, Russia lost the only engagement in which they participated to Japan.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      The Arleigh Burke class has 1.5 times the righting arm that the Zumwalt does, up to about 50 degrees. From 50 to 90 degrees, the Burke has three times the righting arms. Right around 95 degrees of roll, the Zumwalt stops trying to right itself, and capsizes. The Burke continues to right itself all the way to 110 degrees - that is, when the ship is lying on it's side, with the mast underwater, it can still roll itself back upright.
      http://www.phisicalpsience.com... [phisicalpsience.com]

      Long story short - the Zumwalt is a fair weather sailor, and it won't be worth a shit in the real world.

      • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @11:13PM (#51078171)

        Long story short - the Zumwalt is a fair weather sailor, and it won't be worth a shit in the real world.

        It won't be worth a shit in the real world for a far more serious reason, that the enemies it'll be facing is Somali pirates, suicidal zealots in zodiac dinghies, and random insurgents in third-world arenas. None of the high-tech toys or cost are justified for this, all it'll do is make the repair bill more expensive when, say, a small fibreglass boat from Yemen blows a hole in the side of one big enough to drive a truck through. It's another example of a US military branch aiming for the most expensive toy they can build rather than something that's fit for purpose (cough)F35(cough).

  • Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:16PM (#51076779)
    To compare, NASA s 2011 budget was 18 billion. Compare this to one project for one branch of the military, not counting ongoing ops.
    • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:30PM (#51076847) Homepage

      Yeah, and as long as voters keep voting for warmongers, taxpayer's money is going to be endlessly squandered on weapon systems we will never use. The entire NIH budget is something like $35 billion. Cancer deaths alone in the US are over half a million a year. How many lives are these destroyers going to save?

      We are not going to be at war with Russia or China, so please don't try and bring that up as a justification (although I know some of you will nonetheless).

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by magarity ( 164372 )

        taxpayer's money is going to be endlessly squandered on weapon systems we will never use. The entire NIH budget is something like $35 billion

        The NIH is but a minor agency of the DHHS whose entire budget is something like $1.2T so if you think they need even more you're complaining the wrong way. Meanwhile at least the government got a ship for its $4.4B in this case. Compared to the almost $20B pissed away in Medicare fraud that was detected last year, never mind how much went unnoticed.

        • The government got a ship for 4.4 billion and we are supposed to be glad? It will never be used. It is a showpiece. It is a boondoggle. War is a racket.

          Medicare fraud has nothing to do with the NIH, and you know it.

          NIH may be a small part of DHHS, but it is the major source of scientific discovery that has reduced deaths due to human disease and cancer. I for one would rather waste money on that than showpiece ships that are really nothing more than a jobs program for defense contractors.

          • by tsotha ( 720379 )

            The government got a ship for 4.4 billion and we are supposed to be glad? It will never be used. It is a showpiece. It is a boondoggle. War is a racket.

            On the contrary, that ship will almost certainly see several wars. The odds it will go its entire service life without firing a shot in anger are basically zero.

            • The government got a ship for 4.4 billion and we are supposed to be glad? It will never be used. It is a showpiece. It is a boondoggle. War is a racket.

              On the contrary, that ship will almost certainly see several wars. The odds it will go its entire service life without firing a shot in anger are basically zero.

              Well it will now, because we'll find a reason to justify it.
              Had it not been built, that prediction might be different.

            • It is a destroyer though, you might be right though. Destroyers don't even carry cruise missiles right? Seeing as most US conflicts are bombing the snot out of some 2nd-3rd rate nation unless they are near the coast chances are another ship will be doing the shooting. This one will just be part of the screening force.

              • by tsotha ( 720379 )
                Tomahawks. The guns are relatively long range, so I wouldn't rule out artillery shore bombardments, but every war seems to start with a cruise missile barrage. With 80 VLS cells she's well equipped for that.
          • War is a racket.

            Perhaps. But even if you believe in a strong military, it is hard to justify this ship. Its only purpose is to fight a full blue-water war with either China or Russia. But both of those are nuclear powers, and we have no territorial disputes with either. They use our military spending to justify their own, and in the end no one gains an advantage. This ship will never be used, and it will just encourage our potential adversaries to be more adversarial.

            But there are some areas where we should be spendin

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by peragrin ( 659227 )

            The government got a first generation of the next generation of ships for $4.4 billion

            The zumwalt does things no other vessel can do. It will be the platform from which the rail gun will be mounted. Need to fire faster? reroute power from propulsion to the rail gun. Need to go faster? ramp up the generators to 110% and cut off primary power to secondary systems. Yep it can do that. from the control room, which looks more like nasa mission control than the helm of a bridge.

            I actually support the zumw

            • Who are we going to fight with these "new technologies"? Third world countries with no armies, ones that did not even attack us in the first place? This is a solution looking hard for a problem, any problem, anywhere. It will never be used except to test on some poor bastards in some third world country we labeled as terrorists.

              I love new technology that is good for people, I really don't like new technology for killing people, so we differ in that respect.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I already know what guys like you say:

        voting for warmongers

        Guess what? There are large groups of militant types out there that would gleefully kill you and everyone you know, just because you're from the U.S.

        but we made them what they are!

        What's that got to do with anything, even if it's true? Are we supposed to just sit back and let them destroy everything?

        it's not even our fight, we shouldn't be involved!

        Sure thing, buddy. We'll just sit back and enjoy living in the West, while Sunni extremists and all the other terrorist groups of the world divide up the Middle East, kill millions, and gain power. We'll

      • Yeah, and as long as voters keep voting for warmongers, taxpayer's money is going to be endlessly squandered on weapon systems we will never use.

        The political parties that oppose this waste (Libertarian, Greens, etc.) get a combined total of less than 1% of the vote, so don't expect anything to change. The Chinese and Russians will use our weapons programs to justify theirs. Then we will use their build up to justify even more of our own ...

        • I agree, but that doesn't make it acceptable. While the Greens may never win in the US, Bernie Sanders has a chance, and that would be a very different direction than Bush, Obama or Hillary.

          Dwight Eisenhower warned that the military would endless chew up resources that could be better spent in the US for schools, hospitals, medical care, education, infrastructure, etc. Someday the US will switch from a guns to butter economy, but the question is how much money will we squander before we finally decide to do

    • by mveloso ( 325617 )

      To be fair, they didn't spend that 4.4bn all at once. It's been ongoing since at least 2005, and maybe 2001.

      • To be fair, they didn't spend that 4.4bn all at once. It's been ongoing since at least 2005, and maybe 2001.

        So it is was spent on tech that is now 10-15 years old, and that makes it better?

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        To be fair, they didn't spend that 4.4bn all at once. It's been ongoing since at least 2005, and maybe 2001.

        It's not like it cost $4.4B to weld the steel together - it's mostly R&D cost. There were 32 ships planned in the class, which would have nicely spread out that R&D cost, but then the program was cut to 3 ships. What nonsense: all the same R&D cost, but we only get 3 ships for it.

        That's the military spending problem people should be talking about. The R&D budget was actually quite reasonable for a whole new generation of ships, but we're unable to commit to anything, so it all ends up as

    • I'll do you one better. The budget of the ENTIRE Smithsonian Institution for fiscal year 2015, the world's largest museum and research complex, is $819.5 million [artnet.com]. This includes salaries and expenses of $675.3 million. You could fund all 19 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo for over 5 years for what this ship costs.
      • by tsotha ( 720379 )
        Well, sure, I could buy a whole bunch of hammers for the cost of my table saw. But what happens when I need a table saw?
    • To compare, NASA's $18B budget is more than the entire rest of the world combined spends on space exploration.

      So what's their excuse?

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:23PM (#51076813)
    http://www.popularmechanics.co... [popularmechanics.com] The U.S. Navy has a ship-killing problem. The service has, over the past 25 years, neglected the basic mission to sink and destroy enemy ships. Now, with the Russian and Chinese navies on the horizon, the Navy is looking at ways of making its ships more lethal—by repurposing missiles as ship-killers.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:57PM (#51077019) Homepage Journal

      Repurposing missiles as ship killers? You have heard the term "guided missile cruiser", haven't you? The first purpose built guided missile cruisers were put in service in the early 80s, and could sink ships at 10x the range the big guns on the New Jersey could hit. The Harpoon anti-ship missile went into service in the 70s.

      Now I understand the big criticism of the Zumwalt is that it has limited anti-ship capability; but it's supposed to be a destroyer. Destroyers traditionally play mainly anti-submarine and anti-aircraft roles, and in the US Navy mount modest 5" guns for anti-ship use. The Zumwalt's gus are actually 6.1 inches and have considerably longer range -- if they work as advertised. The idea of making it more potent in the anti-ship role would fall into the F35 trap: building cost-is-no-objecdt, do-everything wonder-weapons.

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        Those 5 inch and 155 mm guns are not for anti-ship warfare; they're for bombardment. If you let an enemy warship into gun range you're probably already dead.

        There's no reason a ship the size of Zumwalt can't have ASW capability, particularly when Harpoon is VLS (Real Soon Now, supposedly).

    • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @08:55PM (#51077341) Homepage

      Ships really are not good at killing other ships, planes and submarines are better. Ships are best to house huge artillery to bombard inland targets with, or as cargo/carrier vessels.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      The US navy doesn't really have a ship killing problem. We have enough capability to wipe out every other surface combatant in the world, probably a few times over, because there just aren't that many surface combatants out there. The primary anti-ship platforms are submarines and aircraft, both of which the USN has in spades (comparatively, anyway). USN doctrine has the destroyers and cruisers primarily there to protect the heart of battle group, which is the carrier. The carrier is the offensive platf

    • The U.S. Navy has a ship-killing problem. The service has, over the past 25 years, neglected the basic mission to sink and destroy enemy ships.

      Is that really a problem? I mean If I was to list all the problems I think need solutions for, then the ability sink someone else's ship comes quite low on the list.

    • We mothballed the BBs, anything-in-range-killers, and they could have missles also.

      Not so smart. One of those would be useful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:28PM (#51076833)

    Captain James Kirk

  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:29PM (#51076839)

    This is crazy. Any nation seriously interested in naval war should be spending their money on developing a swarm-based navy. If you could develop a small swarm warfare ship with a price tag of say, $250K, you could produce 16,000 of those at this cost. Good luck fighting those 16,000 ships with this one.

    • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:34PM (#51076871)
      Admiral, are you prepared to fight a hundred duck-size destroyers or one destroyer-size duck?
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Considering that the Phalanx weapon system can target and hit all the falling pieces of the incoming missile it just destroyed? Not a problem with your swarm that will be destroyed quite quickly.

      • I don't think you understand how a swarm works. Hint: You have more swarm members than the other guy has bullets.
      • by tsotha ( 720379 )
        Phalanx? What an waste of money! A few .50 cals would work just fine.
      • Propaganda. The propaganda is that surface ships have a viable defense. There is none. Against a single harpoon type missile, yes; the Phalanx does exactly what you say it does; propaganda is usually true.. Against what they would actually shoot at our ships, no.

        Multiple, staggered, svelte ICBMs coming down at mach 22. With nuke warheads if they are serious. There is no defense against that. All surface ships are stupid and redundant in the real war that the United States is worried about. I guess they are

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      This is crazy. Any nation seriously interested in naval war should be spending their money on developing a swarm-based navy. If you could develop a small swarm warfare ship with a price tag of say, $250K, you could produce 16,000 of those at this cost. Good luck fighting those 16,000 ships with this one.

      And do what with them? Build big sea catapults to hurl them at inland targets?

    • And who is going to crew and service those 16,000 ships? People cost money too, you know. Not to mention dock/mooring space...
    • At 250k what weapon system will they be using??? If you have a massive swarm coming at you over the horizon, one tactical nuke, or thermobaric weapon takes them all out.

    • And how do you get your 16,000 small ships across the ocean to attack your target? Just hope that the waves aren't very big? Are these 16,000 ships carrying enough fuel to cross an ocean or do you put sails on them too? What about carrying water generators and food for the crew? And what happens if one of the goals of your navy is to not lose a lot of equipment and personnel when you decide to attack something? This [tiarayachts.com] is the kind of boat you can get for $250,000, assuming of course that you don't have th

  • Defense systems? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @08:05PM (#51077077)
    One thing I don't understand about modern naval warfare: Couldn't you just send 50 cruise missiles in skimming across the wavetops and take a ship like this out? Or a few ballistic missiles raining down from above at hypersonic speeds? Can these ships really defend against an attack like that?
    • Re:Defense systems? (Score:5, Informative)

      by anzha ( 138288 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @08:26PM (#51077193) Homepage Journal
      First off, there are no hypersonic missiles and will not be for a good 5 or 6 years at least. Secondly, swarming with missiles is, indeed, one way to kill warships. Its exactly what the Soviets planned to do in order to prevent the US from reinforcing Europe in the event of a NATO/Warsaw Pact war before the end of the Cold War. However, the US is very, very, very good at fighting this sort of war. A Zumwalt has 80 VLS cells that can be packed with missiles (though these are meant for attacking, not defending on the Zumies, except when using the ESSM self defense missile (4 to a VLS cell)). However, the Burke class, which would accompany a Zum, each have 90+ VLS cells themselves and an excellent radar system. You'll probably need a minimum of 50 to 75 missiles to get a ship for each Burke defending the Zum. It starts getting really expensive. The US is really good at the hot missile on missile action: even against ballistic missiles. The best way to attack a Zum is with a sub. Defenses against subs are not nearly as good as against incoming missiles. There are NUMEROUS examples of even 'bitty' SSK subs sneaking up on even the big carriers.
      • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @08:40PM (#51077283)
        Am I the only one that wishes they'd spend those billions on hot girl-on-girl action instead of hot missile-on-missile action?

        Don't you just enforce the original poster's argument by saying the expensive monstrosity can be easily taken out be a submarine? The Russians have plenty of submarines...
      • You'll probably need a minimum of 50 to 75 missiles to get a ship for each Burke defending the Zum. It starts getting really expensive.

        Not $4.4B though right? Because if I was Chinese, I'd be allocating an equal budget to counter measures (ie a 1000 missile simultaneous strike capability). Because I reckon you can build missiles a lot faster than you can build ships, so you simply play the attrition game until you win.

      • by towermac ( 752159 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @11:14PM (#51078175)

        "First off, there are no hypersonic missiles and will not be for a good 5 or 6 years at least"

        Wut? Hell an old fashioned ICBM is a hypersonic missile if you use it as one, and they have better nowadays. If you don't actually need to traverse a continent, you have the fuel to come all the way down at full power. And be smaller.

        The latest Chinese missiles are estimated to come down at up to mach 22. They've put a lot of money into them for a while now. Which is why they don't really bother with a navy to counter ours. They figure they need the one carrier for show, and they can give the Philippines a hard time if they need to.

        But they don't have to beat our navy with their navy to win.

    • by ronabop ( 520121 )
      What's the cost per attack, with likely success per attack, and advantage gained or lost as a result? Warfare is about accounting, not making things "impossible to attack". Nothing withstands a direct hit from a thermonuclear weapon, but they are rediculously expensive if all you do is knock out one ship with them.
    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      50 cruise missiles would likely not be enough if the ship was part of a battle group in blue water. US ships have the capability to coordinate defensive fire, and a carrier battle group has hundreds of anti-air missiles. And that's assuming an adversary can get into range to launch - an early goal of any battle is to take out the launch platforms, and aircraft have a longer reach than anti-ship missiles.

      These sorts of "who would win" questions always depend heavily on the scenario. In open water, far ou

    • Cruise missiles launched from what?

      The thing about ships is that they can go places and carry a lot of fire power. You can send the airforce and army if there are friendly countries in the neighbourhood willing to base them. But only the navy can project power on a global scale. Further, pretty much anything can be put on a ship. Cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, air planes, you name it. So if you are close enough to launch a missile at a ship, there is a pretty good chance that the ship is close enough
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re " Can these ships really defend against ...."
      The term used is "re-floated" when such events are tested for.
      The US war gamed for that mass of different systems and did not like the results. A "reset" of the war games found a more happy, traditional "winning" result.
      Millennium Challenge 2002 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      "At this point, the exercise was suspended, Blue's ships were "re-floated", and the rules of engagement were changed"
  • (Looks at size of ship ordered by Admiral in charge of the Navy) "Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?" -- Shrek
  • Man! That looks ugly. Uglier than even Steve Job's aluminum yacht [google.com] with iMacs in the bridge. Waste of money too. There ain't nothing our enemies got that is even worth putting 4.4 billion in jeopardy.
  • It kinda reminds me of the CSS Virginia (nee Merrimac) [deadconfederates.com]. On the Virginia, the angled sides were to deflect cannonballs rather than try to outright resist them. On the Zumwalt the angled sides are deflect radar rather than bounce it right back and provide a signal for the originating radar to lock onto.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      It actually looks like they dropped the blueprints for the Monitor and the Merrimac on the floor, scooped them all up in whatever order and went straight to work.

  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @10:18PM (#51077831)
    The navy has been playing this game where it builds a large ship and call it something smaller, because Congress is willing to build small-sounding ships without checking to see that they're actually small. The Zumwalt, at 14.5k tons, is more than half again as big as Tico-class cruisers at 9.6k tons. "Oh my God, that new destroyer is expensive," say critics. Well, yeah, because by displacement it's really not a destroyer; it's a cruiser. Maybe even a heavy cruiser.
  • ...do you have to plug it into the charger. Seriously, where does all the electricity the ship needs come from?

  • I've never heard of a destroyer being built for anyone other than the Navy; isn't "Destroyer Built for Navy" redundant? Or is there someone else who we are building destroyers for?
  • Size (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <john@princeofcups.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:15AM (#51078575) Homepage

    There are names for sizes of ships. There is no such thing a super-sized destroyer. It's called a light cruiser. I guess Congress funded a destroyer, but they get a cruiser instead.

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