The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) - named after former US Navy Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr - was born out of the DD(X) advanced destroyer program of the United States Navy. The goal of the program was to provide the modern USN the most advanced destroyer class vessel anywhere in the world. The USS Zumwalt will serve as the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class that will eventually incorporate three total vessels (USS Michael Monsoor and USS Lyndon B. Johnson). After the production contract was granted to Bath Iron Works on February 14th, 2008, construction of the USS Zumwalt began in February of 2009. It was initially expected that the vessel be delivered to the USN in 2013, however, delays in the program have pushed delivery into 2014 with an official commissioning tentatively scheduled for some time in 2016. Recent program alterations have reduced maintenance and operational costs and have further produced a vessel of lighter displacement then originally intended (14,500 tons down from the original 18,000 tons. Additionally, the main gun magazine size and rate-of-fire has also been reduced.
Destroyers serve the USN as powerful, fast and agile surface ships which can operate as part of the main fleet or independently in hunting out enemy surface and undersea threats. The typical size for destroyers also allow them to operate relatively close to shore than most other surface ships in the fleet while also maintaining capabilities of open-sea, deep water travel. Their armament generally consists of an array of weapon types to help counter most any modern threat at sea. Destroyers were initially known as torpedo boat destroyers for they were specifically developed to handle the threat posed by fast torpedo boat emerging from the Chilean War of 1891.
The USS Zumwalt serves as a next generation multi-mission system to feature state-of-the-art design, capabilities and construction with an integrated set of suites such as mine avoidance, automatic fire suppression and all-digital systems. Each Zumwalt-class unit costs roughly $3.3 billion USD. Armament is centered around a potent payload of 80-cell surface-to-surface missiles of various types depending on the intended role. Twin AGS (Advanced Gun System) 155mm cannon mounts provide an offensive punch and 2 x 57mm Mk 110 guns supply defensive close-in anti-aircraft/anti-missile capabilities. Provisions are in place to support the addition of torpedo capabilities as well making the Zumwalt a flexible wartime performer. Capabilities are further augmented by the ability to support up to 2 x MH-60R type helicopters (or 1 x Sikorsky MH-60R) and up to three unmanned aerial vehicles (MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopter UAV). Crew accommodations support up to 142 personnel including the air arm.
The outward design of the Zumwalt will include a single main superstructure with angled sides for stealth-like characteristics. There will be little deck protrusions save for the pair of deck turrets along the forecastle. The superstructure will site aft or at amidships and also house the sensor and communications equipment as well as the smoke funnel. As such, there will not be a traditional mast. The helipad, for accepting and launching vertical take-off and landing aircraft, will be set in its traditional position at the stern.
Onboard sensors will consist of a Dual Band Radar array (S-Band VSR/X-Band MFR), HF/MF bow sonar arrays, a multi-function towed array, EO/IR and ES systems. Power is derived from 2 x Rolls-Royce Marine Trent-30 main gas turbine coupled to 2 x emergency diesel generators (through the collective "Integrated Power System" - IPS - arrangement) for a top speed of 30 knots. In addition to helicopter and UAV support, the Zumwalt is also designed to carry up to 2 x RHIB boats. In this way, the Zumwalt may be called to support special forces operations.
Reductions to the Zumwalt program have ensured a longer active shelf-life for the ongoing Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers which currently (2012) number 62 of the planned 75 units at sea.