We devote a lot of space to the high-tech airplanes and helicopters the Department of Defense seems to be commissioning every couple of weeks, so much so that we almost missed the launch of the Navy’s Zumwalt destroyer, which is being touted as the most advanced warship in history.
More than a dozen sailors will control the ship using a network of computers on the bridge, and the ship includes such a variety of automation systems that it can sail with a crew that’s about half the size of required for current destroyers (just 154 sailors). The Total Ship Computing Environment controls all of the vessel’s systems. The computer systems on board are designed in modular enclosures so that components can be removed and replaced as technology changes. The ship generates enough electricity via its turbines to potentially power future weapons systems (like railguns and lasers). It’s also the first U.S. warship to use electric propulsion.
The Zumwalt’s unique shape helps conceal its size to radar. The Navy claims it will appear as a small fishing vessel, even though it is 610 feet long (making it the largest destroyer ever built). It also features a composite deckhouse.
The futuristic Zumwalt, by the way, will be commanded by Captain James Kirk.
Source: Popular Science