U.S.Navy Guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) conducted its first in-class, live-fire missile exercise, April 14, as the crew prepares for their maiden employment. During the live-fire exercises, Zumwalt’s crew engaged live targets with a series of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 1 (ESSM) (RIM 162D) and the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) as part of the stealth destroyer’s final air defense testing. Zumwalt is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission destroyers designed to strengthen naval power from the sea.
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is a guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy. She is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class and the first ship to be named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Zumwalt has stealth capabilities, having a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite her large size. On 7 December 2015, Zumwalt began her sea trial preparatory to joining the Pacific Fleet. Her home port is San Diego, California. Since the Zumwalt class cannot provide naval gunfire support the Navy has re-purposed the class to surface warfare.
“Demonstrating the capability of our combat suite and the lethality of our systems is critical to furthering the Zumwalt class. Zumwalt continues to make great strides and we are excited to continue to test her limits later this year,” said Capt. Amy McInnis, Zumwalt’s commanding officer.
Ship design would have accommodated between 117 and 128 Vertical launching system cells. However, the final DDG-1000 design provides only 80 cells. Zumwalt uses MK.57 cells which are larger than the Mk.41 cells found on most American destroyers. Each VLS cell can be quad packed with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). This gives a maximum theoretical load of 320 ESSM missiles. Zumwalt PLAS cells can launch the SM-2 Standard missile, but the ships have no requirement for ballistic missile defense. The tubes are long and wide enough to incorporate future interceptors, and although the ship was designed primarily for littoral dominance and land attack,