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THE STATE OF MAINE'S BOATING NEWSPAPER Volume 29 Issue 1 January 2016 PCU ZUMWALT Under Goes Sea Trials


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PCU ZUMWALT heading out the Kennebec River to perform sea trials on 7 December. (Photograph - Sam Murfi tt)


BATH – For more than a 100 years Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath has been building war- ships for the U. S. Navy. The fi rst destroyer launched from BIW was FLUSSER. Her dimensions were: 293.8 feet x 26.9 feet x 16.2 feet, which is nearly half the size of the newest destroyer under construction at BIW. For those that have followed the his- tory of the yard, they would also have seen the evolution of the American destroyer. For the last 26 years they have been building Arleigh Burke class destroyers, which when introduced was one of the most powerful warships in the world. Now they have com- pleted another step in the evolution, PCU (Pre-Commissioning Unit) ZUMWALT (named for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt), desig- nated DDG-1000, which has a very different look, much larger, and very, very high-tech. There has also been a lot of questions about ZUMWALT’s abilities, but also about her cost. Putting that aside, on 7 December she headed down the Kennebec River and out into the Atlantic Ocean to perform her fi rst sea trials.


ZUMWALT is the result of a program originally known as DD(X) and later DD- 21. The goal was to design a multi-mission warship that would mainly operate against land-based targets. However, it can also face-off against other warships, aircraft or supply naval gunfi re. With the loss of the Iowa class battleships, gun was their fi re-power that was desperately needed by


forces on land. What sets this warship apart from other destroyers is her automated sys- tems. Her computers can power the ship by sending electricity to the drives; can fi re her multitude of weapons; but can also protect her if damaged by operating fi re-fi ghting systems or re-routing a ruptured pipe. This computer system allows for a reduction in the number of crew needed to operate her. When fi rst approved 32 were ordered, but that has been shrunk down to just three, all presently under construction at BIW. In November 2005 the fi rst two ships were ordered by the Defense Acquisition Board, even though they had not been approved by the House or Senate. One was to be built at BIW, the other at Ingall’s yard in Pasca- goula, MS. The House and Senate did give approval a month later, but there was only funding for one. Later, additional funding was approved and now two ships could be built. In 2008, the U. S. Navy asked to curtail orders for additional Zumwalt-class destroyers, instead opting to order more Ar- leigh Burke class destroyers. The reasoning was that they could build more Burkes than they could Zumwalt destroyers. It was also noted that there may be some fl aws that could make the Zumwalt class vulnerable to certain attacks. However, a third DDG 1000 was ordered, which would allow us to maintain the shipbuilding industry as is. The estimated cost of the Zumwalt class destroyer grew 81 percent to a cost of


$5.9 billion per destroyer. Due to this cost increase the Navy noted that the project was in violation of the Nunn-McCurdy Amendment. This amendment forces any Department of Defense program that exceeds certain thresholds to be re-evalu- ated by Congress. The following year the program was capped at three ships and this was followed by a fi xed price contract to the builder, BIW. BIW was to build the fi rst one with the second going to Ingalls determined by an early 2008 contract. Then it was determined that all three vessels would be built at BIW. ZUMWALT is scheduled to be operational in 2016; the second, USS MICHAEL MON- SOOR, named for a Navy SEAL, should be operational in 2018 and three years later the third USS LYNDON B. JOHNSON. When looking at the profi le of this vessel it will bring to mind the ironclads used in the American Civil War. We all remember the story of the USS MONITOR and the battle she fought against the CSS VIRGINIA. The aim than was to have cannon balls bounce harmlessly off, but for the ZUMWALT it was to create a stealth ship that had little to no radar signature. One can also look back at the Russo-Japanese War fought in the Sea of Japan in 1905. During this battle French designs utilized the tumblehome-hull think- ing it would be more seaworthy and easier to navigate in tight quarters. Other issues were discovered regarding stability, especially


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when performing high speed turns. The raked-aft stem was used to pass through a wave, but some think this could create other issues in stability. The Navy constructed a quarter scale test model named SEA JET. It was thought that without fl are at the bow in heavy seas the righting moment would not be adequate to right the vessel. Also it was thought that in a following sea she could roll. The tests performed with SEA JET proved this hull form was seaworthy. The main deckhouse on the fi rst two Zumwalt destroyers will be constructed us- ing composites, to lower the cost of the third one, the deckhouse will be built of steel. It is now wondered by some how much this will change her stability. The cost over-runs came from the advanced technology. One feature that has been under research for years is her Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). When the 16-inch guns of the battleships were decom- missioned in the early 1990s there became a need for a long-range naval gun, one that could reach 100 miles or more. Due to prob- lems that arose the Navy was forced to use a more conventional weapon, a 6.1 inch Ad- vanced Gun System. This system can use a Long Range Land Attack Projectile that can reach a distance of 83 nautical miles. What is interesting that in order to have adequate stability when fi ring these weapons ballast


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