New US Navy Destroyer is too stealthy for peacetime

The U.S. Navy’s new Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer (DDG 1000) is so covert that during normal peacetime operations its crew plan to sail with giant reflectors — reflective cylinders hoisted in the air — to ensure other ships can see it.

A lobsterman in Maine, Lawrence Pye, told The Associated Press that during a recent outing his radar indicated a 40- or 50-foot fishing vessel was approaching. It turned out to be the hulking 610-foot warship.

“It’s pretty mammoth when it’s that close to you,” Pye told the news service.

The Zumwalt already is 50 times more difficult to detect on radar than other destroyers in the fleet. But it will be even stealthier after the testing equipment loaded onto the ship for trials is removed, Zumwalt program manager Capt. James Downey said.

The reflective material that will be used aboard the Zumwalt will look like metal cylinders. Other vessels have also used the material during difficult navigation conditions, such as in heavy fog or busy ship lanes.

Zumwalt stats

Displacement: 14,564 long tons (14,798 t)
Length: 600 ft (180 m)
Beam: 80.7 ft (24.6 m)
Draft: 27.6 ft (8.4 m)
Propulsion: Two Rolls-Royce Marine Trent-30 gas turbines driving Curtiss-Wright generators and emergency diesel generators, 78 MW (105,000 shp); two propellers driven by electric motors
Speed: Over 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Weapons: 20 × MK 57 VLS modules, with a total of 80 launch cells
RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), four per cell
Tactical Tomahawk, one per cell
Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC), one per cell
Two × 155 mm/62 caliber Advanced Gun System
920 × 155 mm rounds total; 600 in automated store with Auxiliary store room with up to 320 rounds (non-automatic) as of April 2005
70–100 LRLAP rounds planned as of 2005 of total
Two × Mk 110 57 mm gun (CIGS)