Bon Voyage: US Navy’s Futuristic Destroyer Sails Out to Sea

The U.S. Navy’s newest warship, the USS Zumwalt. Credit: U.S. Navy, courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

The U.S. Navy’s giant new warship finally sailed out to sea this week to complete its first-ever round of tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean.

On Monday (Dec. 7), the 610-foot-long (186 meters) destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, made its way from the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine, to the high seas. The massive ship tips the scales at 15,480 tons (that’s nearly 31 million lbs., or more than 14 million kilograms) and cost more than $4 billion to design and build, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Over the next few days, the USS Zumwalt — named for Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., a World War II veteran and one of the youngest chiefs of naval operations in U.S. Navy history — will undergo what the Navy called a “multiday underway period,” in which the boat’s hull will be put to the test, along with its mechanical and electric systems. After taking on the cold waters of the Atlantic, the ship will anchor off Portland, Maine, giving locals a chance to ogle the strange-looking vessel. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]

What makes the USS Zumwalt such a spectacle is its unique design. The top part of the ship looks like a pyramid with its top sliced off, and its bow comes to a narrow point at the end, so it looks like the ship is piercing through the waves. Known as a tumblehome hull design, this pointed shape was selected specifically to make the huge ship stealthier, according to a report by the Portland Press Herald.

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