USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced warship, officially joined the fleet during a commissioning ceremony held in Baltimore, October 15.
The lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission destroyers, Zumwalt features a state-of-the-art electric propulsion system, wave-piercing tumblehome hull, stealth design, and the latest warfighting technology and weaponry available.
Secretary of the Navy, the Hon. Ray Mabus, delivered the ceremony’s principal address.
“This ship is an example of a larger initiative to increase operational stability and give the U.S. a strategic advantage,” said Mabus. “Our Navy and our Marine Corps, uniquely, provide presence – around the globe, around the clock – ensuring stability, reassuring allies, deterring adversaries, and providing the nation’s leaders with options in times of crisis.”
In addition to its size, the Zumwalt class will be the first Navy warships to utilize an integrated power system that will produce enough power to run current systems, as well as the power required for future weapons, computing, and sensor systems.
Zumwalt generates approximately 78 megawatts of power, almost as much as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This means the ship can operate all of its systems and still generate enough electricity to power a small town, which provides the extra capacity to accommodate future weapons and computing systems, like the electro-magnetic railgun the Navy is working on.
“Today’s ceremony marked the culmination of over three years of dedication and hard work by some of the finest Sailors I have had the pleasure to lead,” said Capt. James A. Kirk, commanding officer of Zumwalt. “The only thing more impressive than the capabilities of the ship are the capabilities of its fine crew.”
“This destroyer, like the others in our fleet, is capable of projecting power, no doubt,” said Mabus. “The Zumwalt-class is much larger than today’s destroyers with a considerably larger flight deck – enough space to operate host Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, and unmanned systems and a Vertical Launch System second to none.”
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, also spoke at the ceremony, commenting on the significance of the ship’s namesake.
“Admiral Zumwalt, especially during his time as CNO, ensured that our institution lived by its values,” said Richardson. “He was the ‘The Sailor’s Admiral,’ looking at new ideas, acting to the limit of his authorities, and adjusting along the way to make his Navy ready for combat – but also with full cognizance of the impact on the Sailors that made up that Navy.”
Zumwalt is scheduled to begin her transit to San Diego, making several port visits along the way. Upon arrival in San Diego, USS Zumwalt will begin installation of her combat systems, testing and evaluation, and operational integration with the fleet.