USS Zumwalt: America’s new Destroyer Ship

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On 23rd May last month, the US Navy accepted delivery of its latest destroyer,the USS Zumwalt (category defense) which is the first ship of the Zumwalt class destroyers.The  Named after the US Navy Admiral Emo Zumwalt,the ship has been classified as a stealth destroyer.The ship weighs a massive 14000 tons and is a multi role destroyer.Here are some of its following features:

Armaments

The ship is equipped  with 80 cells of RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow for medium range air defence from aircrafts and anti ship missiles,Long range subsonic Tomahawk cruise missiles but the ship is equipped with a new Advanced Gun System which is capable of firing munitions with a high rate of fire. The ship is also equipped with Mk46 MOD 2 gun systems to protect the ship from small fast attack crafts.The Zumwalt also carries ASROC systems for Anti Submarine defence.

Stealth Capabilities

The ship weighs a massive 14000 tonnes but has an RCS comparable to that of a small fishing boat according to US Navy Officials

The tumblehome hull and composite deckhouse reduces radar return. Overall, the destroyer’s angular build makes it “50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer.

Radar and Sonar capabilities
The Zumwalt is equipped with an AN/SPY-3 AESA Multi function radar system. Initially the AN/SPY-3 was to be marred with an AN/SPY-4 S Band volume radar but the latter was dropped by the then Acquisition Chief Ashton Carter. As for Sonar capabilities,A dual-band sonar controlled by a highly automated computer system will be used to detect mines and submarines.
The ship is also equipped with:
  • Hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-60)
  • Hull-mounted high-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-61)
  • Multi-function towed array sonar and handling system (AN/SQR-20)

Controversies

 The Zumwalt class however has suffered severe cost overruns and costs over 3 billion $ per ship. Also the navy has reduced the number of ships from the original 32 to 24,then to 7 and then to only 3. This also questions as how the US will be capable of modernising its surface fleets with only 3 ships.
Final Review 
The Zumwalt while equipped with the latest in stealth technology and technical capabilities is under equipped as the ship only has 80 cells despite a massive size of 14000 tons. Also the fact that there are going to be only three ships in this class is a major drawback for providing fire support.
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