US Navy's largest destroyer ready to be floated news
22 October 2013

The US Navy's largest destroyer ever built is ready to be floated at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, in the US.

Artist rendering of the Zumwalt-class destroyer  

The christening of the ship was cancelled due to the federal government shutdown. The massive ship will now be moved to dry dock and floated in the coming days.

The construction of the first-in-class Zumwalt, named after decorated war veteran, Adm Elmo Zumwalt Jr, the largest US Navy destroyer till date, had proceeded as scheduled and on budget, something of a rarity in new defence programmes, Associated Press reported yesterday.

At over $3.5 billion, the Zumwalt's cost was over three times that cost of previous destroyers.

The vessel is so massive that Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics subsidiary, built a 106-foot-tall, $40 million ''Ultra Hall'' to accommodate its large hull segments, the report said.

The Navy believes that the ship's big gun, stealthy silhouette and advance features would make it a formidable package.

The report said the ship has an unusual wave-piercing hull, electric drive propulsion, advanced sonar and guided missiles, a new gun capable of firing rocket-propelled warheads as far as 100 miles.

The Zumwalt has dispensed with the typical towering radar- and antenna-laden superstructures, to allow for low water cruising to minimise its radar signature, which makes it stealthier than others.

Elmo R. ZumwaltThe ship was originally meant for shore bombardment, and with its size and power plant that can power 78,000 homes, it could become a platform for futuristic weapons, the report said.

During World War II, admiral Zumwalt served in destroyers and was awarded a Bronze Star for valour at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

At 49, he was appointed as youngest chief of naval operations by president Richard Nixon. Zumwalt fought to end racial discrimination and for the first time allowed women to serve on ships.

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US Navy's largest destroyer ready to be floated