it’s electric, has the latest weapons and runs on Linux

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For the past 20 years, the United States has spent between 3.1 and 4.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year to maintain its position as a military power. According to World Bank datait is an annual expense of between 320 thousand and 778 billion dollars. This enormous sum of money translates, among other results, into the development and manufacture of the most modern military technology.

We know that when it comes to military issues, there is no room for diminutives. Many countries try to show muscle before the world by claiming to have the best planes, the best ships, the best weapons, etc., etc. Although, in war scenarios are where they are really put to the test and their virtues and defects come to light, revealing which qualities were real and which were part of the propaganda.

The United States shows off its destroyer

Washington does not want to be outdone and boasts “the most advanced combat aircraft in the world”, the Lockheed Martin F-35, “the largest aircraft carrier in the world”; the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), and even the fearsome bombs capable of splitting ships in two, the Quicksink GBU-31. What is the United States missing from this list? The most advanced warship in the world, for instance. And yes, they do, or so they claim.

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the lead ship of the new Zumwalt class. She is billed as a multi-role guided missile destroyer with stealth capabilities. In other words, she is designed for stealth missions, with a focus on ground attacks. Also, assurehas the ability to engage in anti-aircraft defense, engage surface-level targets, and provide naval support.

The idea of ​​building this type of ship dates back to the end of the 1990s. The Zumwalt destroyer was one of the concepts included in the SC21 new warship research and development program, later renamed to DD(X). The initial funds of 1.4 billion dollars, authorized by the United States Congress, arrived in 2008 and thus began his adventure.

uss zumwalt 2

General Dynamicsa legendary American defense company with more than 100,000 employees, was in charge of the construction of the first ship of the Zumwalt class. The initial schedule had established that she was to be delivered finished in April 2013, but due to some inconvenience she was delivered six months later.

Surprisingly, half a year of delay in a project of this magnitude is not at all scandalous considering that some projects can be delayed for years. Thus, in January 2014 it began its preparation for sea trials. These consisted of subjecting the boat to different adverse conditions, with the aim of evaluating its performance.

Once the tests are finished, according to a press releasethe first commanding officer, Capital James A. Kirkwhich has nothing to do with the Star Trek character, James T Kirk, highlighted the ship’s qualities with the following message: “Zumwalt is today a technical marvel. When he deploys, our nation will have a multi-mission destroyer with the stealth and combat power to take on the most challenging missions.”

Why the USS Zumwalt is so advanced

One of the most interesting features of the USS Zumwalt is that it is an all-electric ship. She has a propulsion system made up of two marine gas turbine engines. Rolls Royce MT30a highly engineered piece designed with 50% fewer parts than similar ones, along with an RR4500 generator set and two monobloc propellers.

The United States Navy ensures that the ship generates approximately 78 megawatts of power, almost what a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier generates. This translates to enough electricity to run all your systems and, by way of comparison, also run a small city.

uss zumwalt 3

Additionally, its stealth capabilities allow it to appear on radar as a small fishing boat. Nonetheless, it is a weapon of war equipped with multiple turrets, a Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS), including BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missilesand an advanced gun system (AGS), the latter with two long-range naval guns and land-based projectiles.

With 182 meters in length and 16,000 tons, it has the capacity to 158 crew, although it can work 100% operationally with only 147 of them, it reaches a speed of 30 knots. At the level of sensors and processing systems, it has an AN/SPY-3 multifunction radar and a hemispherical volume surveillance radar, a system that allows the tracking of high-speed aircraft and missiles.

The first large autonomous ship already travels 500 miles without human help.  It's just the beginning

And how is all this controlled? Details of the computer systems that power this warship are unknown, but she likely won’t have Windows XP computers like HMS Queen Elizabeth once did. The USS Zumwalt has about 1,450 square meters dedicated to hosting Linux servers for its operation. The operations center also has laptops that can be used by any crew member on the ship.

Of course, despite its advanced technology, and an investment of some $4.4 billionthe USS Zumwalt has not been without its problems. According to the EFE Agencyin 2016, in an attempt to cross the Panama Canal, “had setbacks in its engineering systems and had to be towed to the Rodman port dock.”

The truth is that the ship does not seem to have met the expectations of the Navy, which planned to order the construction of more than 20. Instead, it has only ordered three, but the total cost of the program Even so, it has suffered an enormous cost overrun, placing itself in the $22 billion. What will be the future of these ships? Time will reveal it.

Images | United States Navy

For the past 20 years, the United States has spent between 3.1 and 4.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product…

For the past 20 years, the United States has spent between 3.1 and 4.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product…

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