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DDG 1000 Zumwalt Launched Without Fanfare At Bath Iron Works

After many years in design and development, a pioneering but controversial new U.S. Navy ship has entered the water without fanfare. The first ship of the Navy’s newest class of guided missile destroyers, the future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), completed the journey from keel laying to construction to launching at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine.

The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), completed the journey from keel laying to construction to launching at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Instead of the more traditional way of launching ships by sliding them down the ways into the river stern first, Zumwalt was moved from Bath Iron Works’ land-level construction facility onto a floating dry dock on Friday. From there, the dock was flooded and repositioned so the ship could be taken from its cradle. By the end of the day on Monday, Oct. 28, the dock had flooded and Zumwalt floated. She is now pier side next to the shipyard in the Kennebec River.

DDG 1000 Zumwalt

The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Bath, Maine, Oct. 28, 2013. The Zumwalt utilizes a unique tumbledown hull design that has not been employed on a warship for a century. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics

Construction of Zumwalt began in 2009 and is already more than 87 percent complete. Delivery to the Navy is scheduled for late next year. A formal christening ceremony was scheduled for Oct. 19, but was cancelled due to the government shutdown.

“This is the largest ship Bath Iron Works has ever constructed and the Navy’s largest destroyer. The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity,” said Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships. “Due to meticulous planning and execution, the operation went very smoothly.”

Everything about this ship is new, from the dramatically different tumblehome hull form, which hasn’t been seen on a warship in a century, to the integrated electric propulsion systems, to the advanced gun system (AGS) and long range land attack projectile (LRLAP), to the total ship computing environment (TSCE).

Everything about this ship is new, from the dramatically different tumblehome hull form, which hasn’t been seen on a warship in a century,  to the integrated electric propulsion systems, to the advanced gun system (AGS) and long range land attack projectile (LRLAP), to the total ship computing environment (TSCE).

According to Wade Knudson, Raytheon‘s DDG 1000 program manager, building this complex warship has been a rewarding challenge. “It’s a tremendously complicated process, but the successes achieved have been made possible by the close collaboration and coordination by the Navy, Bath Iron Works, BAE Systems, Huntington Ingalls Industries and all of the other companies who have contributed.

DDG 1000 Zumwalt

The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the first of the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyers, is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Bath, Maine, Oct. 28, 2013. A formal christening ceremony was planned, but was canceled due to the since ended government shutdown. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics

Thanks to the TSCE, all systems are connected and provide an unprecedented amount of automation. Knudson says Raytheon created 6.7 million lines of code to date for the integrated system that controls everything from ship and machinery control to combat management, weapons control and automated fire suppression.

Raytheon created 6.7 million lines of code to date for the integrated system that controls everything from ship and machinery control to combat management, weapons control and automated fire suppression.

The ship is named for former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who served as CNO from 1970-1974.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...