Why Nothing Can Stop U.S. Navy’s Stealth Zumwalt Destroyer

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March 12, 2021 Topic: U.S. Navy Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: U.S. NavyZumwaltAmericaZumwalt-ClassSea Trials

Why Nothing Can Stop U.S. Navy’s Stealth Zumwalt Destroyer

The troubled high-tech warship has proven it can survive terrible weather conditions in the ocean.

The U.S. Navy’s new Zumwalt stealth destroyer put to rest any doubts about its capabilities by passing an intense round of sea trials in which it sailed through two storms off the states of California and Alaska.

According to the Naval Sea Systems Command, the destroyer was able to stave off mammoth waves that were twenty feet high, which gave the military officials more confidence in its ability to complete real-world missions in heavy and rough seas.

Zumwalt previously took part in Calm-Water Trials off the coast of San Diego, but the engineers decided to move more north in an effort to have the destroyer experience more extreme weather conditions.

“We chose locations and times to conduct the testing that would correspond with what forecast models were indicating would provide the wave conditions required to complete our test matrix. We deployed wave buoys that drifted on the sea surface, which helped us to quantify the seaway in terms of the wave height, period, and direction,” Stephen Minnich, the director of the Rough-Water Trials, said in a statement.

“We were completely at the mercy of Mother Nature during the testing, but those devices were critically important to the characterization of what we were seeing in terms of ship motion and structural response and for the situational awareness they provided to support safe execution of the testing.”

“Minnich and his team were encouraged by the results of the Rough-Water Trials, noting that there were no exceedances of critical motion criteria limits,” the Navy’s official news release added.

To further test Zumwalt, a scale-model replica of the destroyer will repeat similar conditions in what has been called the U.S. Navy’s “indoor ocean,” a Bethesda, Maryland-based giant pool that can hold more than twelve million gallons of water and replicate real-world wave patterns.

The officials noted that the trials will help the Navy troubleshoot any differences “between our model-scale predictions and our full-scale observations.”

Both the Rough-Water Trials and the Calm-Water Trials are part of a standard Performance and Special Trials (P&ST) program that the Navy conducts on the lead ship of every new class.

The recent trials were particularly important for Zumwalt because of its hull design, which has raised some concern about its ability to overcome rougher waters.

“All told, I’d rather be on that ship than any other ship I’ve been on,” Navy Captain Andrew Carlson, the destroyer’s commanding officer, told Defense News in January.

“You definitely have to get used to the roll, which is very short compared to other ships. For those of us who have been on (Ticonderoga class) cruisers, especially up top, you kind of lean over fifteen degrees and you wonder if you are going to come back. We didn’t experience any of that. As long as you get used to the finer oscillation, it really handles very well.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.