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Old 07 December 2015, 04:15 PM
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United States Largest Destroyer Built for [U.S.] Navy Headed to Sea for Testing

The largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy headed out to sea for the first time Monday, departing from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works and carefully navigating the winding Kennebec River before reaching the open ocean where the ship will undergo sea trials.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/l...sting-35622370
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  #2  
Old 07 December 2015, 04:45 PM
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"We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway. For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone," the ship's skipper, Navy Capt. James Kirk, said before the ship departed.
Okay, someone's just NFBSKing with us now.
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Old 07 December 2015, 04:48 PM
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If only there were still a USS Enterprise in the US fleet.

~Psihala
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Old 07 December 2015, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chillas View Post
Okay, someone's just NFBSKing with us now.
I once had to call a James P. Kirk for work, one time... He did not seem to realize why his name might be a source of mirth.

ETA: That thing looks like a good, old-timey ironclad!!
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Old 07 December 2015, 07:09 PM
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ETA: That thing looks like a good, old-timey ironclad!!
I thought the same thing! That's why I thought it odd that one quote in the article said "it looks like the future" - the steep tumblehome design (a term I just learned) is something of a 19th c. throwback.
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Old 09 December 2015, 05:51 AM
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The picture is kind of deceptive; I guess the tugboat is probably closer to the camera, and not actually behind the ship. Had to do a little googling to get an idea of how big the thing is. (The length of two football fields.)
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Old 09 December 2015, 01:18 PM
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I once had to call a James P. Kirk for work, one time... He did not seem to realize why his name might be a source of mirth.
My guess is that it was far from a source of mirth for him, because he'd already heard all about it seventeen thousand times.
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Old 10 December 2015, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut View Post
The picture is kind of deceptive; I guess the tugboat is probably closer to the camera, and not actually behind the ship. Had to do a little googling to get an idea of how big the thing is. (The length of two football fields.)
Traditionally, Destroyers are pretty darn small ships considering they are deep water war ships. The common nickname of "tin can" gives you an idea of what the traditional ones are like in heavy seas.
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Old 11 December 2015, 12:16 PM
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Now no one is making any battleships or battle cruisers so destroyers are the biggest surface fighting ships. My grandpa's destroyer - which was built, served, nearly sunk, and captured during the war in the Pacific - was about ⅔ the length of the USS Zumwalt. It's big but not extreme.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 11 December 2015 at 12:21 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11 December 2015, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Now no one is making any battleships or battle cruisers so destroyers are the biggest surface fighting ships. My grandpa's destroyer - which was built, served, nearly sunk, and captured during the war in the Pacific - was about ⅔ the length of the USS Zumwalt. It's big but not extreme.
And the Zumwalt is shorter than the Victory Star-Destroyer, which is itself shorter than the Imperial...

so really, it's quite on the small side...

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Old 15 December 2015, 12:38 AM
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For comparison, six classes of WWII and modern surface ships, with full load displacement and length:

Fletcher (WWII destroyer) 2500t, 377 ft
Atlanta (WWII light cruiser) 7400t, 541 ft
Baltimore (WWII heavy cruiser) 17300t, 673 ft
Arleigh Burke Flight IIA (2000s guided missile destroyer) 9200t, 509 ft
Ticonderoga (1980s+ guided missile cruiser) 9800t, 467 ft
Zumwalt (2016(?) guided missile destroyer) 14800t, 600 ft

The WWII-era ship classes were driven mostly by the weight of the turrets and the armor protection of the magazines. Atlanta-class light cruisers had 16 5-inch guns compared to Fletcher's 5, and weight scaled with those numbers. Once you get to heavy cruisers you have more massive 8-inch guns and the requisite armored magazines and flash protections, so there's a huge leap in displacement.

With guided missiles, the ship displacement becomes pretty well arbitrary; even a 200t missile boat can fight like a capital ship, at least for a couple punches. This also makes it a lot easier to make gradual increases in displacement for a ship class, like a destroyer, just to get slightly more missile capacity. After all, destroyers seemed like a pretty appropriate platform to develop and test missile systems and their ancillary sensors, guidance systems, command-and-control systems, ECM, ECCM, etc.

And this is pretty much what the USN did, increasing the displacement of its low-tier surface combatants (frigates, destroyers, and destroyer-leaders) several times over by kitting them out with more and more guided missiles from the early 1950s into the 1970s. Cruisers and battleships kept their role of "gunships," and likewise took on armored box launchers, but as guns simply displaced guided missiles for a weapon that became less and less likely to be fired in anger, these classes fell out of favor.

So with battleships and cruisers hitting a dead end, the destroyer was soon becoming the largest and most powerful surface combatant in the USN arsenal by the 1960s. (Which excludes aircraft carriers and submarines.)

But there were political implications to having a "cruiser gap" with the USSR - despite the fact that the Farragut-class guided missile destroyers were already near the size of a light cruiser - so the USN reclassified its ships in 1975 and renamed a few large destroyers as cruisers. This is the reason US guided missile cruisers and destroyers are pretty near the same size: cruisers are just destroyers with the hull numbers filed off, more or less. (More charitably, their extra loadout and CC&C make them equivalent to destroyer-leaders; they still serve the "cruiser" role on paper only.)

With the political posturing of "cruisers" over and done with after the fall if the Soviet Union - case in point, the successor for the Ticonderoga-class cruiser is not another cruiser, but a Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer - we're back to the 1960s paradigm where "destroyer" now means "top tier surface combatant."

And here we are with the Zumwalt. It's a "destroyer" because "destroyer" is the modern analogue of "battleship" - the most powerful surface combatant in existence. It is, in displacement, damn near a WWII-era heavy cruiser, which is a massive leap. But it's still a "destroyer" because "destroyer" is the amalgam of all prior surface combatant types.

In a way, we're back to the post-ironclad age. In the last decades of the 19th Century, naval guns had forced the split of warships into battleships and cruisers of varying protection. In the last decades of the 20th Century, highly scalable and completely adaptable missile armament packages had encouraged the elimination of gunships and consolidation of guided missile warships back into a single type.

Last edited by Alchemy; 15 December 2015 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 15 December 2015, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Alchemy View Post
And here we are with the Zumwalt. It's a "destroyer" because "destroyer" is the modern analogue of "battleship" - the most powerful surface combatant in existence. It is, in displacement, damn near a WWII-era heavy cruiser, which is a massive leap. But it's still a "destroyer" because "destroyer" is the amalgam of all prior surface combatant types.

In a way, we're back to the post-ironclad age. In the last decades of the 19th Century, naval guns had forced the split of warships into battleships and cruisers of varying protection. In the last decades of the 20th Century, highly scalable and completely adaptable missile armament packages had encouraged the elimination of gunships and consolidation of guided missile warships back into a single type.
In WWI and II the main function of Destroyers was to protect capital ships from submarines. To carry out that mission the Destroyers had to be fast and nimble. Indeed the Fletcher Class of WW2 was about the fastest ship in a Naval flotilla (38 knots for a Fletcher, vs. about 34 knots for an aircraft carrier that are normally considered to be fast ships since speed helps air operations substantially).

What does anti-sub warfare in a modern fleet? Aircraft from the carrier?
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Old 15 December 2015, 08:58 PM
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I think anti-sub for a carrier groups would have three layers: aircraft and un-manned vehicles (if not now, soon), other submarines, and purpose-built surface combatants. The surface ships could be frigates or destroyers but I don't think there's consistent nomenclature. I think most combatants have the sonar to see subs with and might have the ability to engage depending on if they have space to mount depth charges or whatever.
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Old 16 December 2015, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
What does anti-sub warfare in a modern fleet? Aircraft from the carrier?
It's my understanding that the destroyer squadron is generally responsible for all aspects of anti-submarine defense. LAMPS-equipped Seahawk helicopters that launch from the destroyer are integrated into the destroyer's combat systems, so they act as the eyes and ears (and if needed, fists) of the destroyer itself. The destroyer also has its own shipborne anti-submarine detection and weapons systems. Plus of course anti-ship, anti-aircraft, and anti-missile defenses, should surface or airborne threats slip past the carrier's combat air patrol.

Carrier groups used to also bring along one or two attack submarines for anti-submarine warfare; I'm not sure if this is still common.
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