The Z-boat floats! Zumwalt launched into the night

Zumwalt afloat on the evening of Oct. 28.

Zumwalt afloat on the evening of Oct. 28.

With little ceremony, Bath Iron Works launched the ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) into Maine’s Kennebec River on Monday afternoon, Oct. 28.

The 600-foot-long ship — the largest destroyer ever built — was floated off from a floating drydock that had been moved into the middle of the river. The operation to move the drydock out into the river, flood the dock, float off the Zumwalt and move her to a pier took about eight hours, according to Matt Wickenheiser, a spokesman for the shipyard.

The ship began its translation — an engineering term for transferring the ship from land to water — from the shipyard’s land-level construction facility to a floating dry dock Friday, Oct. 25. 

“This is the largest ship Bath Iron Works has ever constructed and the Navy’s largest destroyer,” said Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships. “The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity.”

The ship’s christening, planned for Oct. 19 but put off because of the government shutdown, won’t take place until sometime in the spring, the Navy said. Zumwalt is about 87 percent complete, but more than a year of work is needed before the ship is delivered in late 2014. Even then, further development, tests and trials of the ship’s combat systems will continue well into 2016.

Zumwalt is the first of three ships in the DDG 1000 class. Major portions of the Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) already have been assembled, and with Zumwalt launched, more sections will be joined together.

Construction also is proceeding on the Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).

All photos courtesy US Navy/General Dyanmics Bath Iron Works, by Michael C. Nutter.

Water begins to swirl under the giant destroyer as the floating drydock is submerged into the Kennebec River.

Water begins to swirl under the giant destroyer as the floating drydock is submerged into the Kennebec River.

A yard tug begins to nudge the Zumwalt out of the dock under an early-evening sky.

A yard tug begins to nudge the Zumwalt out of the dock under an early-evening sky.

Tugs nudge the brilliantly-lit Zumwalt back toward the shipyard. Note that the forward 155mm mount is open, and the weapon appears to be fully elevated.

Tugs move the brilliantly-lit Zumwalt back toward the shipyard. Note that the forward 155 mm gun mount is open, and the weapon appears to be fully elevated.

The following series of images were taken late Friday, Oct. 25 as the Zumwalt was moved into the floating drydock. In the background of the first image, at right, is the primer-covered forward  hull section of the Michael Monsoor, next ship in the class.

The following series of images were taken late Friday, Oct. 25 as the Zumwalt was moved into the floating drydock. In the background of the first image, at right, is the primer-covered forward hull section of the Michael Monsoor, next ship in the class.Z020 DDG1000131028_I6Z9040

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Z026 DDG1000131028_I6Z8955

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Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
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