Stealth destroyer Zumwalt leaves Norfolk for homeport

USS Zumwalt is Navy's most advanced destroyer

NORFOLK, Va. (Navy Times) -- With less than a week in the fleet, the Navy’s deadliest destroyer left Norfolk on Thursday for its eventual homeport.

The voyage to san Diego is expected to take two months, because the crew has a lot of work to do on the way. 

“She will arrive here sometime in December,” said Cmdr. John Perkins, spokesman for the Naval Surface Force Pacific. “The ship will do planned testing, certification and other operations and will conduct various port visits before transiting the Panama Canal to the Pacific." 

Zumwalt entered Norfolk on Sept. 15 where she prepared for commissioning — a new coat of paint on both sides of the ship, which occupied the crew in the weeks leading up to her commissioning on Oct. 15 in Baltimore, Md. as part of the fleet week celebration.   

 Zumwalt was originally slated to operate from Norfolk to spend more time training at sea, officials told Navy Times when the ship arrived last month. But those plans were scuttled after a mechanical problem that needed fixing.

“At issue was a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shafts,” Perkins said. “The faulty equipment that led to the leakage has been replaced.” 

Though the ship is slated to make both US and foreign port visits before arriving in San Diego, officials declined to say what those might be for security purposes.

The lead ship of a new class of electric-drive destroyers, the three Zumwalt-class ships, at 600-feet long, are larger than today’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers, yet manned with a compliment of 140 sailors — fewer than were aboard the much smaller Perry-class frigates.

The stealth ships ride low in the water and are designed for surface warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, and naval gunfire land attack roles. 

Originally planned as a class of 32 ships, development difficulties and cost overruns led to Congress slashing the class down to just three hulls.Officials are now calling the class transitional and a test bed for technology for future ships.


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