The Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt, arrived in San Diego Thursday with its namesake’s daughter on hand to welcome it.
“My father’s ship is finally home ported in his home state of California,” said Ann Zumwalt. “It’s so beautiful to see it come in.”
The 610-foot, angular stealth vessel looked like nothing else on the naval waterfront as it passed under the Coronado Bridge.
Concealed behind smooth, radar-evading surfaces are advanced guns that can hit targets 83 nautical miles distant and nearly 100 guided missiles in vertical launch tubes.
The $4.4 billion ship is the first of three being built by General Dynamics in Bath, ME.
The ship’s namesake, the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, is credited with transforming the Navy in the 1970s. He was noted as both a technological champion and social reformer.
“The Navy he envisioned for men and women and minorities has come to pass on this ship,” his daughter said as she scanned the sailors lining the rail.
The arrival comes just two weeks after the ship’s propulsion system broke down in the Panama Canal. Capt. James A Kirk, the ship’s commanding officer, said such problems are not unusual for the first ship in a new class.
“It’s a revolutionary warship, and we are fantastically pleased to be bringing it to San Diego,” he said after the arrival.
While the ship looks very different from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers on the pier with it, Kirk said, “what’s under the hood is actually more different than it appearance.”
The ship uses electric propulsion and deveops 78 megawatts of power — as much as a small generating station — for use with future technologies like lasers and rail guns.
The destroyer will be capable of performing a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions while allowing the Navy to test new systems and missions.