The USS Zumwalt – file photo
Lasers and global-strike weapons, hypervelocity missiles, and maneuvering, Tomahawk missiles and precision-guided it to the deck-mounted guns… its all a part of the Navy’s design for the new, stealthy destroyer… the USS Zumwalt.
The first-of-its-kind vessel, on the fast track to operational status by entering the following year, and has been designed for the specific purpose of inclusion of these in future marine attack weapons. With this in mind, the Navy has been working on the control of the activation of the vessel, live-fire training exercises, and technical preparations for the new weapons.
Nuclear weapons, in accordance with the Zumwalt Program Manager Capt. Kevin Smith, a Maritime Strike, Tomahawk, SM-6 missiles, and a Tactical Common Data Link to a network of helicopters on board ships, and to the integration of a new long-range precision rounds of 5-inch guns.
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“Now, We’re learning how to fight on the ship, and on foot patrol,” Smith said in January at the Surface Navy Association Symposium, Arlington, Va.
Laser weapons, which are already operational on the Navy’s ships, were part of the plan for the Zumwalt, as it was designed to be an Integrated Power System and electric drives. This will not only be quieter, stealthier, and more efficient propulsion of the ship with a 78-megawatt generators, but it also makes it possible to provide a level of on-board energy, which is necessary for the country.
“There is a lot of development going on and with the lasers, which work on a plan that’s going to be in the future. We have the space, weight and power of this vessel class on which to take that kind of a capability, in the future,” Smith said.
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The Tomahawk missile has a very effective attacking weapon for several decades, providing the basis for the Navy’s current effort to quickly get to the Marine Strike and Tomahawk. This new weapon will take the existing Block IV Tomahawk to a new level by the addition of a new seeker and guidance technology to enable the weapon to hit moving targets at sea. This is a substantial step forward in its attack power, so you get the sea, the commanders, the ability to hit enemy ships to move hundreds of miles away. The existing Tomahawk, while armed with a GPS support, a 900-mile range, and drone-like, loitering capability and two-way-targeting the data link is to be used as a way of attacking hard targets such as enemy buildings, command-and-control facilities.
The USS Zumwalt is built on a high-tech, long-range, the BAE-built, Advanced Gun System, designed to locate and hit targets with accuracy from much further than the existing deck-mounted ship-guns.
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Most of the deck to be mounted 5-inch guns, currently, on naval vessels, are limited to the firing of about 8 to 10 miles on the goals of the horizon, or what is called the line-of-sight. The Advanced Gun System, however, it is designed to fire rounds in over-the-horizon targets, and more than three times that distance.
The Navy was going to get the gun to fire a Long-range Attack in the Country Projectile, but for now, it is the exploration of the different ammo options.
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“The guns have been in lay-up, we are still looking at other options,” Smith said, adding that the ship, the wind and the fire of the hypervelocity missile that was originally developed for the electromagnetic rail gun.