joi, 26 aprilie 2012

The most expensive and largest destroyer built by the United States

The first of three commissioned destroyers, the Zumwalt, is the most expensive and largest destroyer built by the United States to date. The new destroyer’s exorbitant cost is almost seven billion dollars, and is the result of dozens of new prototype systems installed in the warship’s hull and control room. The Zumwalt can fire rocket propelled warheads as far as one hundred miles, and features a wave piercing hull and new stealth technology. While in excess of six-hundred meters long, the ship will only need about half the crew of a normal destroyer due to increased automated technology and weapon systems. The Zumwalt is by far the largest, heaviest, and most expensive destroyer built for the U.S. Navy in its existence.

The technology laden warship represents the Navy’s future as told by several high ranking Navy admirals, who had originally opposed the destroyer’s building due to its immense cost and inclusion of experimental technology that has yet to prove itself in battle. Though reviews are generally positive by military officials, there are still those who vehemently oppose the creation of this behemoth of a destroyer. Those not won over by the ship’s long range missile capabilities are quick to point out that it is not as effective in missile and point defense as other destroyers, who are primarily used for escort and fire support missions. The Zumwalt and ships like it would be increasingly vulnerable if it ever had to provide support close to the coastline, but its long range missile capabilities would render it unnecessary to loiter at close range to enemy weapon systems. However, a top heavy hull could leave the ship incredibly unstable at extreme conditions such as high winds and heavy waves.
The Zumwalt, and destroyers in construction like it, are now viewed as a crucial part of President Obama’s Asia-Pacific strategy. This plan sees increasing the number of long range and interdiction Navy ships patrolling off the coast of Asian countries in the Pacific. This new strategy was proposed in reaction to China’s influence as a rising world military power. The strategy places numerous destroyers and carriers in the region for quick responses any military action by countries long seen as potential adversaries to the United States.
However, the Zumwalt’s cost could potentially derail the program before it even churns out a dozen of the warships. The cost, originally predicted at three to four billion per ship, skyrocketed to seven billion after research and installation of experimental weapon systems was factored into the equation. The initial order of thirty-two dwindled to twenty-four, and then further to just seven. Months later the order was revised to just three of the expensive craft. The Zumwalt’s new technology could possibly bring huge change in the art of ship based warfare, but the prohibitive cost and dwindling production numbers may relegate this ground breaking craft to just a footnote in the Navy’s long history.

0 comentarii:

Trimiteți un comentariu


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More