Destroyer tastes water in low-key float-out
BATH, Maine — There was no band. No streamers. No champagne.
The Navy's stealthy Zumwalt destroyer floated out of dry dock without fanfare on Monday night and into the waters of the Kennebec River, where the warship will remain dockside for final construction.
The largest destroyer ever built for the Navy, the Zumwalt looks like no other U.S. warship, with an angular profile and clean carbon fiber superstructure that hides antennas and radar masts.
“The Zumwalt is really in a league of its own,” said defense consultant Eric Wertheim, author of “The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.”
Envisioned as a “stealth destroyer,” the Zumwalt has a low-slung appearance and angles that deflect radar. Its wave-piercing hull aims for a smoother ride.
The 610-foot ship is a behemoth that's longer and bigger than the current class of destroyers. It was designed for shore bombardment and features a 155mm “Advanced Gun System” that fires rocket-propelled warheads with a range of nearly 100 miles.
Thanks to computers and automation, it will have only about half the complement of sailors as the current generation of destroyers.
Critics who felt the Navy was trying to incorporate too much new technology into one package nearly scrapped the program as costs grew. Eventually, the program was truncated to three ships, the Zumwalt being the first.
Dozens of local residents gathered to watch the hours-long process of floating the ship in a dry dock. In the water for the first time, the ship was a sight to behold.
“It's absolutely massive. It's higher than the tree line on the other side. It's an absolutely huge ship — very imposing. It's massively dominating the waterfront,” said Amy Lent, executive director of the Maine Maritime Museum.
The destroyer was supposed to be christened with a bottle of champagne crashed against its bow by the two daughters of the late Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, but the ceremony this month was canceled because of the partial federal government shutdown.
Bath Iron Works, part of General Dynamics, will work on the ship through the winter. The shipyard hopes to hold a rescheduled christening in the spring, with sea trials in the fall.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fraternity’s racist chant among its traditions, University of Oklahoma finds
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Indiana governor defends religious objections bill signed into law
- Maryland might owe federal government millions for health care exchange
- Excessive use of solitary found for juveniles in Baltimore jail
- Baby cut from Colo. mom-to-be didn’t live outside wombm, autopsy finds
- Report: Prepare to drill for oil in Arctic
- Clinton wiped private email server ‘clean’
- Bulk calling data won’t be collected
- Police find no evidence in 5-month investigation of UVA rape allegations
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter