PORTSMOUTH, R.I.--When someone says that a new Naval vessel will be "the centerpiece of seapower for the next 50 years," it's tempting to be skeptical. But with the U.S. Navy's next-generation Zumwalt-class destroyer, known as DDG 1000, it's worth keeping an open mind.
With the Zumwalt, the Navy is aiming for a much larger, much more efficient, much quieter and hard-to-detect destroyer geared toward the water-borne battlefields of the future.
As part of Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited defense giant Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems facility here for a lengthy discussion of the DDG 1000 and the ways it is expected to break new ground in naval warfare.
Seen here is a rendering of the Zumwalt class destroyer, the design of which is being led by Raytheon, but which also features work by partners at BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northop Grumman, and of course, the Navy.
The ship is being built at the Bath Iron Works, in Bath, Maine.
One of the most innovative features of the Zumwalt class destroyers is its dual-band radar. This is a scale model of the radar, based at the Navy's Engineering Test Center, part of the Wallops Flight Facility, which is run by NASA, on Wallops Island, Va. Naval personnel are currently being trained on the dual-band radar at this facility.
Another view of the Navy's scale model of the dual-band radar for the DDG 1000, based at the Navy's Engineering Test Center, adjacent to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. It is seen here in a Road Trip 2010 photograph by CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman.
The DDG 1000 Total Ship Computing Environment is a new systems architecture that is open and advanced and that offers a scalable platform for a new set of cost-efficient mission capabilities while also leveraging existing lines of code from Navy programs.
The Electronic Modular Enclosures, seen here at Raytheon's Seapower Capability Center in Portsmouth, R.I., offer technology that is aimed at putting the Navy far ahead of its adversaries, while saving money through the latest techniques.
A data sheet showcases the comparison between the next-generation DDG 1000 and the current-gen DDG 51. The Zumwalt class destroyer is 610 feet long and has a flight deck 150 feet by 51 feet, while the DDG 51 is just 509 feet long with a flight deck just 71 feet by 57 feet.
The DDG 1000 is designed to both aim high-precision fire in the areas near shore that could harbor enemies, while also being able to aim several different rounds of artillery at a group of targets with the idea of scaring them into compliance.
Because of advances in the acoustics of the DDG 1000, it is designed to have a much wider range in which it can travel quietly--and therefore safely. In these two images, the colors designate the differences between the current-generation DDG 51's capabilities, and those of the DDG 1000.