An artist rendering of the Zumwalt class destroyer DDG 1000, a new class of multi-mission U.S. Navy surface combatant ship designed to operate as part of a joint maritime fleet, assisting Marine strike forces ashore as well as performing littoral, air and sub-surface warfare. (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)

Photos: Meet the Navy’s Newest, Deadliest Warship

This 610-foot Zumwalt destroyer is built for stealth, firepower, and—one day—giant lasers

The U.S. Navy has unveiled its most ambitious and expensive warship to ever hit the high seas: The Zumwalt DDG 1000.

Launched into the water earlier this week by General Dynamics, a Maine-based shipbuilder, the Zumwalt—named after the former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr.—is built for both land and water attacks, and is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced Naval weaponry. Its intended purpose, according to the Navy, is to “provide independent forward presence and deterrence” and to “operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces.” In other words: It’s a destroyer ship.

The ship’s appropriately titled “Advanced Gun System,” built by Raytheon, the global defense contractor, is designed to fire rocket-powered missiles at a distance of 63 miles, guided by a system five times more accurate than anything the Navy currently uses. The ship may be big, but it’s stealthy, too. The Zumwalt features a  “tumblehome” hull, which keeps the ship’s location relatively clear from radar screens. And the ship’s propulsion system, designed by the maritime division of Rolls-Royce, can generate 78 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough wattage to power a laser weapon on board the ship’s deck—a much-rumored new feature of the Zumwalt.

They’re just rumors, so far, because the Navy hasn’t yet finished building the ship. Though General Dynamics launched the Zumwalt into water this week, the Navy won’t actually receive it until early 2014. At that point, Navy engineers will finish building out its weaponry system and activate the ship’s combat systems. The Navy predicts the Zumwalt will be ready for battle by 2016.

And yesterday, the Navy announced the ship’s commander-to-be: Captain James A. Kirk, a navy veteran. Yes, that’s right. Captain Kirk will pilot this futuristic vessel. (Hear that? That’s the sound of Star Trek fans high-fiving around the globe.)

The Zumwalt DDG 1000 is a large ship, 100 feet longer than any Navy destroyer that currently exists. It’s the length of two football fields, 81-feet wide, displaces roughly 15,000 tons of seawater, has an 11,000-square foot deck, and can carry a crew of 130 sailors. It also costs about $3.5 billion to build—or roughly the annual GDP of Fiji.

General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

Still, she’s stealthy. Its “tumblehome” hull (basically an angular, forward-sloping frame) and concealed antennas make it difficult for combatant’s radars to pick up the ship’s location. According to the Navy, the ship is 50 times harder to detect than similar-sized destroyers—and it pops up on radar screens looking like nothing more than a big fishing boat.

General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

The ship’s Advanced Guns System is designed for minimal sailor intervention. The guns can self-fire, so sailors don’t need to load shells or remove casings.  When it’s finally built, the DDG-1000 is rumored to include an “anti-air megawatt class raygun,” essentially giant a free-electron laser beam. The ray gun would theoretically be able to destroy any incoming drones or missiles.

Guns.com calls the ship’s weaponry system “Tony Stark worthy.” That’s a good description. The ship is equipped with what’s called a “peripheral vertical launch system,” basically 20 four-cell systems placed around the perimeter of the deck. The Zumwalt also has two 155m gun systems, two 57 mm guns, and four 50-caliber machine guns on its deck.

The ship’s technical architecture is powered by Linux, and its data sits in IBM blade servers in the ship’s server rooms—all 16 of them. The ship even has some modern touches: Every screen and console on board the ship comes with touch screens.

General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

Of course, all of these fancy tech toys and guns come with a giant price tag. In 2003, the Pentagon announced it was going to purchase 16 of the Zumwalt destroyers, but in 2008—the year the recession hit—it reduced its order to three ships. The ship costs about $3.5 billion—and the continued upkeep is in the millions.

Respond Now
  • I served on the John Paul Jones DDG 53 an Arleigh Burke Destroyer… imo an ultra stealthy ship can play a huge role. The modern destroyer is a game changer it can be used as a mobile anti missle defense sysyem they can even shoot down satellites. 

  • It looks suspiciously U-boat-like. Where are the torpedoes?A submerged radar reflection woud be zero, target laibility reduced.In asymmetrical warfare, thinking even smaller may be a better idea. But,I would not want to fight a launch platform like this one. 

  • We should buy all 16 ships. Don’t worry Obamacare will pay for it. If you like your ship you can keep it. Period.

  • yes its deadly, dealy to my tax dollars!

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Youre a low wage earner and dont pay taxes, so STFU

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      • Selfies are soooo 2008!

  • very encouraged

  • ok, 3.5 billion so some defense contractor can pad their bottom line. And I suspect some terrorist in a row boat can slide up alongside and plant a $100 bomb and sink this puppy. Thanks congress for approving this turkey. 

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    • Thank the Lord you negative minded people don’t run our defense dept.

  • Show More
  • What a gigantic waste of taxpayer money!  Notice the word “defense” is not mentioned in regard to this boondoggle.  This is a forward power projection weapon system as the article notes.  As someone notes in comments! this vessel could be vaporized and sunk by a relatively small nuclear cruise missile.  Stop wasting our money on instruments of human slaughter and build a more peaceful world through diplomacy!

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Speak softly but carry a big stick

    • Try diplomacy with the Muslim world, add the North Koreans and China and let us see if you can get any good results.Building more ships like the Zumwalt is the best deterrent to aggressive countries, like if you have a gun in your hand is a big deterrent to some thugs who wants to do you harm, did you get it.

  • This ship is already known to the Chinese and Russians. All the money in the billions while the Chinese can build it for less like all the 99 cent stores they have in NYC.

  • I just watched the movie “Battleship” over the weekend.  This new Z destroyer is exactly what we need, when the aliens come to invade Earth. I just hope the new laser guns can shoot down those spinning fireball bombs.

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    • lol…true dat

  • Wow!! I would love to drive that puppy!!, cap’n greg

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    • me too… I wanna be spock…lol or is that Sulu

  • Why do we make such a big announcement and include so many details of the ship’s specifications and capabilities? Is this our way of saying “Don’t mess with us?” or is it being stupid?

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • I believe it’s ‘dont mess wth us’. and we only told you a little to get your attention.

  • Umm?  Where are the Life Boats?

  • It was obsolete the moment the pencil touched the drawing board, as are ALL naval vessels. An airburst from a short to intermediate range nuclear missile, detonated by a simple WW2 era radio proximity fuse can DESTROY AN ENTIRE NAVAL TASK FORCE!

  • OK, let me get this straight. The Navy’s most advanced and deadliest surface combatant sets sail in 2014 under the command of Captain James A. Kirk! WOW, I guess Star Trek is finally reaching the 21st century.Can you believe it!

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Lou: It’s the 21st century catching up with star trac.

  • The navy’s newest and deadliest warship goes active in 2014 under the command of Captain James A. Kirk! Can you believe it LOL!!

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • I love that feature !!lol

  • OK, let me get this straight. The Navy’s most advanced and deadliest surface combatant sets sail in 2014 under the command of Captain James A. Kirk! WOW, I guess Star Trek is finally reaching the 21st century.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Three posts with the same content? Thank you; we understood the reference the first time. 

  • The ship costs 3.5 billion USA dollars.  A reverse engineered ship by the Chinese & the Russians can probably be bought for about a 1/4 of this asking price.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • We don’t have a billion peasants with top secret security clearance. Also, it’d have to be captured to be reverse-engineered, now wouldn’t it?

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      • oh they will probably just take along Clinton and sail it over to china and give it to them

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      • sad …but funny!!lol

  • Detect it, identify it – IFF, initiate the launch and destroy it.  Then have breakfast.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • You do that; then we’ll have breakfast. You’re buying, it was your idea!

  • Looks great, looking forward to seeing it in action.

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    • See, now this is where we differ. This is supposed to be a deterrent to war. It’s just like when Hiram Maxim invented the machine gun. Nobody would be stupid or crazy enough to wage war against an enemy with a machine gun!Oh, wait…Damn!I suppose we’ll see it in use soon enough. At that point it’ll probably take the path of the stealth fighter: too expensive, over-engineered, and unnecessary/indecisive compared to conventional models.

  • China wil be really jealous !!!

  • Awesome! 

  • Navy Proud!!

  • it looks cool but a moving target by a nuclear submarine. even with elecric motors. sonar would pick it up and sink it!c

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Two things in the oceans, submarines and targets.

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      • what sub were you on

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Probably never seen or boarded one.

  • What is wrong with this country is two many mental midgets like  Mr. RVSMITH.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Speaking of mental midgets, do you know the difference between “two” and “too”?  – too many days on your horse in the hot sun have fried your brain.

  • That it’s being commanded by Capt. James Kirk somehow makes this a bargain.I’d like to know who the engineer and chief medical officer are, and if Kirk gets a hot, blonde yeoman.

  • Great, the Nation is in fiscal crisis and the Navy spends 10.5 billion on some new toys ….. get real, do we really need these ?????

    3 Replies - Reply Now
    • Well, it’s still less than obozo has spent on trying to con the American people into loving him for his wonderful healthcare mess.

    • Typical Liberal view … Obama-scare @ $7 TRILLION versus the highest standards for our National Security @ 10.5 billion.  That’s a no-brainer … and in case you were wondering, I’m referring to the Liberals like RVSMITH as being the ones with no brains.

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      • Comparing Obamacare to this rediculous man toy borders on the adsurd. A complete waste of American talent and tax dollars. Obamacare will provide financial relief and medical coverage to millions and take pressure off of thousands of American companies whose ability to grow their businesses is stunted by the outrageous cost of providing health care for their employees. This $3.5 toy for the navy and the  will be useless in combat because 50% of it’s elaborate systems will not ever be fully operational. Get a life.

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • It’s called the price of freedom…I dont know any super rich person that doesnt have security for his stuff. And Obama care is a good thought but it wasnt fully considered all the ramifications. And because of that it will have a real hard time being good for all Americans. When They created SSI they didnt have alot of data to make it work as well as they like. and they are doing it again with Obamacare..sadly

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  • It about time to make our navy modern. The other ships should be as well. our navy and others military branches should.do thr same.

  • Looks like a combination of the CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) and the USS Monitor.

  • Well, hats off to the US Navy, who, after 151 years, has once more put a boat in the water of the historical C.S.S. Virginia design!

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    • The CSS Virginia was obviously designed in an attempt to evade numerically and technologically superior Union ships equipped with state of the art civil war era RADAR. ;) She was blown up by her own crew to avoid inevitable capture. Well done, Confederate navy, well done!

  • I see Linux will be the main drivers on this bad boy. Keep Microsoft out of the picture if possible. They cant even run a virus-free OS or make a decent Game system without it overheating. Good Job! Keep “Made in China” stuff away from it, completely! 

  • We need more of these destroyers since CHINA thinks its a world power

  • Emp weapon takes down the servers and its down.  

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Wow you must be some kinda genius! I’m sure nobody at the DOD thought of that, so they couldn’t possibly have done anything to prevent an EMP disruption. Have you written a letter to the DOD yet and informed them of their blatantly stupid oversight?

  • Awesome! Clearly , jeff doesn’t know. multiple missile attacks? I won’t be alone silly man…..lasers? Hell yeah! James kirk? Hell yeah! I love paying taxes! Godspeed!

  • Yes! Very amazing! Unbelievable! Is this true? What enemy country can survive encountering this Zumwalt 1000? This magnificent distroyer?

  • this is a great ship love it

  • What about the Berryhill?

  • wait until someone fires multiple missiles at it…it’ll be 3.5 billion dollar artificial reef 

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Cmon, don’t be sarcastic…it won’t be alone…

    • I don’t suppose you have ever been to a laser show?

  • One small nuke torpedo will take it out in the blink of eye. Such a waste of taxpayer money. I know it is all about politics.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • One small nuke torpedo? How does a sub get close? It won’t be alone….advanced sonar and trailer subs will fix that.ex. bombers used to be escorted in ww2

  • If it rides on the surface, it can be taken out.  You could build 3 new state of the art hunter-killer subs for the same price.  Sleek, fast, silent, deadly, and invisible to satellites and radars.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Yup. With a sub you get a free stealth feature because it is underwater.

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Even subs are not as secret as one may think. Sounding devices are located all over the oceans to detect subs. When it comes to nukes did you know ASROCS and SUBROCS are old anti sub weapons that had nuke warheads? Yes subs can be taken out. In limited warfare surface vessels are still required. 

  • Oh just in case you couldn’t tell I loved the article :) This one is being saved and Mr. Markowitz please keep reporting on “Fascinating” subjects like this.

  • Ummm….errrr…..Not sur where to start as the tech on this ship just gave me a Nerdgasm.James Kirk is Captain !!! I sooo wanna be the Chief Engineer and I’m half Scottish too :)

  • At just $3.5 billion, I’ll take two, please.

  • Will they be able to conquer Afghanistan with it?they failed in Vietnam, Iraq, Korea and now Afghanistan, despite the best and the most advanced tech.Hope they learn a lesson and let the world be.

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Let the world be?  What does that mean? Let it go to hell, and take us down with it? As for Vietnam, the communists were able to gain access to our press and certain eletes (Nancy, Walter,et al) and they turn the people against the military.  The military did what they were told to do by the politicians, and back away only because ordered to do so, not because there was nothing else they could do. As for Korea, there is peace and a dividing line — between the haves and have nots.  Guess which side sided with America? As for Afghanistan, well, you’ll have to talk to your buddy Barrack about that, Abdul.

    • Abdul you’re a tool.

  • I wonder if these disclosures aren’t an effort to befuddle the minds of leaders in the DPRK, China and Russia. Maybe we have a “Star Wars” plot here. 

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • did you know… in1997 we off-shored the manufacturing of our entire semi-conductor laser manufacturing to China..? Small and simple yet capable of being deployed into a system that can take down any aircraft or missile as affectively as any laser system the DOD has today…Did you know…?Marton Fredericks

  • Cross section seems to show it may be top heavy is that right? If anything shouldnt the center of gravity be lower to give stability to the ship in high seas?

  • Frankly, I think it would be more effective to build a larger number of smaller vessels that could also navigate under the surface and also pack an arsenal.

  • The USS Monitor coming back to life.

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • LOL It certainly does resemble her. Hopefully much more efficient!

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      • It looks like a “marriage” of the USS Monitor and the CSS Merrimack.  How American is that!

        2 Replies - Reply Now
      • Frankly, I think building a larger quantity of smaller vessels that can also travel submerged (not necessarily to great depths) and pack an arsenal as well would be more effective.

      • +
      • It looks like their “love child.”

    • The profile actually looks a lot like the Nautilus submarine in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (or is it the other way around?).


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