An unusual looking U.S. Navy destroyer docked at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in Victoria on Monday.
The 600-foot-long, 16,000-ton USS Zumwalt is the U.S. Navy’s largest destroyer, built with new technologies to “take the U.S. Navy into the future.”
|USS Zumwalt’s commanding officer Capt. Andrew Carlson said he and the crew are excited to explore Victoria. The ship docked at CFB Esquimalt on Monday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)|
Designed to support ground forces in land attacks, the Zumwalt was launched in 2013 from Maine as the Navy’s lead ship of its newest destroyer class. It is the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, intended to support special operations forces and joint and combined expeditionary forces.
Now, its home base is San Diego and it holds a small crew – currently, only 145 people work aboard the USS Zumwalt.
Its unique shape and antenna arrangement help to hide it from enemy radar and its all-electric integrated power system and advanced gun system – a GPS-guided six-inch gun – are designed to fire projectiles up to 63-nautical miles. The shape of the tumblehome hull helps it to break through waves.
“[USS Zumwalt] is one of the newest platforms in the United States Navy,” said commanding officer Capt. Andrew Carlson. “It’s equipped with cutting edge technology in its combat systems, its weapon systems and its engineering control systems.”
But technology isn’t the only thing that sets the vessel apart from other ships of its class.
The ship was named for Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970 to 1974 and was known for advocating for the inclusion of woman and people of colour within the Navy.
Lt. Briana Wildemann said Zumwalt helped to make the U.S. Navy what it is today.
“He’s part of the reason I’m on this ship,” said Wildemann, as she explained how the ship’s sleeping quarters are built for smaller groups of sailors – so the number of women on board isn’t restricted as it could be on ships with a maximum number of female-designated beds.
“This ship is the ship that is taking the Navy into the future. This ship has 11 different systems on board,” Wildemann said. “This is the first and only time the Navy has put that many new systems or ideas on one platform. We’re really learning what we can, taking the pros and cons of all those systems … and shaping what the future vessels are going to look like for the U.S. Navy.”
The USS Zumwalt missile destroyer is expected to be docked at CFB Esquimalt for the next week or so while the crew explores Victoria and showcases the vessel.
Carlson said he and the crew “are very excited to be here … to experience the local culture and engage with the community.”