A striking and controversial Navy destroyer pulled into Pearl Harbor for the first time this morning, garnering attention for its sheer size (610 feet long), stealth features, and unorthodox wave-piercing “tumblehome” hull on its first operational sail from San Diego.
The USS Zumwalt, also known as DDG-1000, is part of a program initiated in the early 1990s that envisioned a high-tech replacement for old Iowa-class battleships that could pound enemy forces on land from nearshore waters using 155-mm projectiles.
However, with the face of warfare changing from lower-tech land threats to “great power” missile-based competition with China and Russia, the number of Zumwalts was trimmed from 32 to 3, with the decision made to restart production of more-traditional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
Zumwalts are 100 feet longer and 13 feet wider than the precursor destroyer.
In 2008, the Navy said the future destroyer-operating environment called for open-ocean antisubmarine warfare and countering anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
The approximately $4 billion Zumwalts feature 80 vertical launch cells for Tomahawk, Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, Standard Missiles, and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets.
The ship, with a crew of about 175, also has the capacity to carry two MH-60R helicopters.
The USS Zumwalt departed San Diego on March 8 and stopped in Esquimalt, British Columbia, on March 11, marking “an opportunity for the crew to experience the hospitality of the Canadian port, as well as showcase the U.S. Navy’s newest class of destroyers,” the Navy said.
The ship arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska, on March 23, before making the long journey to Pearl Harbor on what so far is its farthest foray into the Pacific.