spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command, said
in email responses to Seapower.
The ship can accommodate two MH60R Seahawk
helicopters for antisubmarine warfare and maritime
strike, as well as MQ 8 Fire Scout unmanned aerial
vehicles for overthehorizon surveillance.
Capt. James Kirk, the ship’s commanding officer,
said Zumwalt rides “marvelously” through the waves,
describing its ride as feeling “like a soupedup sport
utility vehicle [SUV].”
Lt. Cmdr. Nate Chase, the ship’s chief engineer with
experience in Arleigh Burkeclass DDGs, agreed, saying
the ship rides “exponentially better” than an Arleigh
Burke. He recalled that during one sortie from the
shipyard some shipyard workers onboard asked when
the ship was getting underway when it had left port 45
“This ship blows the Burke out of the water,” Chase
said of the new ship.
Chase highlighted the stealth characteristics of
Zumwalt, with its small radar cross section (RCS),
which he said was 1/50th that of an Arleigh Burke.
Zumwalt’s hull is partially coated with radarabsorbent
tiles. The exceptionally smooth hull is almost complete
ly free of protrusions common on a more conventional
warship. The guardlines that line the weather deck of a
conventional destroyer are absent from Zumwalt.
For safety while arriving and departing port, and
while in port, the crew rigs removable lifelines on the
forward portion of the ship. On the aft flight deck, the
deck edges are lined on three sides with small doors
that resemble small blast deflectors that are raised from
a horizontal position flush with the deck to a vertical
barrier that forms as a safety feature.
That such a large warship could make such a small
radar target seems implausible, but Chase gave an
example of Zumwalt’s stealth, noting that during the
ship’s rescue of a fisherman in December, a Coast Guard
cutter had difficulty rendezvousing with the destroyer
because of its low RCS. The ship can mount removable
radar reflectors so that other ships can be aware of its
presence when necessary.
Chase also noted the ship’s electrical power gen
eration capability, 78 megawatts versus nine for an
Arleigh Burke, enough to power a small city. The ship’s
integrated power system allows the crew to shift power
to systems as needed based on mission priorities, a
capability that will prove necessary on it or future ships
to power directed energy weapons such as lasers or
electromagnetic rail guns.
Zumwalt’s 147Sailor crew is half the size of that of
an Arleigh Burke, and even smaller than the crew of the
nowdecommissioned Perryclass frigates, and as such
needs the help of advanced technology to carry the load.
The ship is equipped with the Total Ship Computing
Environment, designed by Raytheon Integrated Defense
Systems, which integrates all of the mission and engi
17 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / DECEMBER 2016
An MH-60R Seahawk assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 flies near the guided-missile destroyer USS
Zumwalt as the ship travels in the Chesapeake Bay Oct. 17 on its way to its new homeport of San Diego. Partially coated
with radar-absorbent tiles, Zumwalt’s smooth hull is almost completely free of protrusions common on a more conventional
warship, giving it a small radar cross section.