The US Navy is preparing to take control of its newest and most advanced destroyer, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000). The $4bn (2.79bn) marine vessel, built at Bath Iron Works, is being fitted with supplies and spare parts before it is formally taken over by the navy, said Capt James Kirk, the destroyer's skipper.
The 610-foot (186m) warship is the largest destroyer in the country's fleet and its most technologically sophisticated. Its angular shape makes it 50 times more difficult to detect on radar and its guns have the capacity to fire targets from a distance of 100 miles (160kms). The ship is powered by electricity generated by its turbines, using a technology similar to the one in the Boeing 777.
"We've overcome lots of obstacles to get to this point," said electrician John Upham, of Litchfield. "I think everybody in the shipyard is proud of the work we've done."
The final cost of the ship is estimated to be $4.4bn, a hefty price that had forced the navy to reduce its original order of 32 vessels to only three. "Zumwalt was a challenge to assemble because of all the new technologies, but sea trials show it is a world-class warship with unique capabilities," said Loren Thompson, senior defence analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute.
The ship's 143 crew have been training for more than two years to man the Zumwalt and will continue training on board.
Jay Wadleigh, president of the largest union at Bath Iron Works, said, "I think the way the Zumwalt performed on the three different sea trials was better than anybody expected — us, the Navy and the company."
The ship will formally be commissioned into service at a ceremony in Baltimore in October.