The first-of-its-kind stealth guided missile destroyer USS Zumwalt finally heads to sea with a familiar name in command for its test run.

The USS Zumwalt, a $4.3 billion state-of-the-art stealth destroyer, has put to sea for trials from Bath Iron Works in Maine. The futuristic ship ironically is commanded by Captain James Kirk.

Measuring 610 feet long, and weighting more than 15,000 tons, the ship looks a bit odd with its sloping hull and a deck that looks more like a star destroyer from Star Wars than a U.S. Navy vessel. The look though is designed to give the ship a more compact look, making it appear as a fishing vessel on radar.

Some notes about the Zumwalt:

  • The ship holds 58MW of reserve power, capable of powering 580,000 gaming consoles or the largest amusement park in the world.
  • The computer system has more than 6 million lines of code, or the equivalent of 108,000 printed pages.
  • The ship has enhanced automation, requiring only 158 sailors, or 1/10 of the men need for a World War II Cleveland-class cruiser.
  • The ship has an electric propulsion system, is equipped to handle an electromagnetic railgun and a drone-targeting laser system, and can also carry two MH60R helicopters.

“We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway,” Capt. Kirk said before the ship departed. “For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone.”

The shakedown cruise will determine the seaworthiness of the new vessel and just how soon the ship will be able to join the fleet. The new “tumblehome” hull, as well as the abundance of new electronics and weapons systems, offers some risk, but the Navy is confident in the new ship. Two more Zumwalt class destroyers are scheduled to be built, down from the original 32 that were planned.

Sources: CNN, Tampa Bay Times, Raytheon

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