USS Zumwalt returns to San Deigo
The USS Zumwalt returns to San Diego. Navy photo

The stealthy USS Zumwalt completed its first deployment before Thanksgiving as the futuristic warship and two others in the new class await installation of new hypersonic missile batteries.

The Zumwalt left San Diego on Aug. 1 for more than three months of training and testing in the western Pacific Ocean and returned in mid November.

Capt. Shea Thompson, commander of the Surface Development Squadron One, said the ship tested combat systems while operating with the 7th Fleet, the Air Force and Japanese allies.

The futuristic destroyers in the new class were designed to fire a 100-mile-range main gun, but that program was canceled, leaving them without their principal armament.

The Navy plans to remove the two gun mounts on the ships and replace them with as many as a dozen new hypersonic missiles in vertical launch tubes. Work on this is expected to begin next year.

The warships are also armed with 80 missiles of other types and helicopters.

All three, including the USS Michael Monsoor and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson that is undergoing sea trials, are based in San Diego.

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