The San Diego-bound USS Zumwalt, the first of a new class of giant guided-missile destroyers, was christened Saturday in Bath, ME.

The ship, the first of three in the class, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces, and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces.

The Zumwalt is the largest destroyer ever built. It is 610 feet long with a displacement of approximately 15,000 tons. The shape of its superstructure and arrangement of antennas make it less visible on radar. It features a new type of gun designed to fire rocket-powered, precision projectiles 63 nautical miles.

The lead ship and class are named in honor of Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. He is credited with implementing a series of policies intended to improve opportunities within the Navy for minorities and women.

In accordance with Navy tradition, the ship’s co-sponsors Ann Zumwalt and Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers, both daughters of Zumwalt, broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow.

The ship’s arrival in San Diego is expected in mid 2016 after sea trials and outfitting.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.