The United States Navy just got a new high-tech addition to its fleet after formally receiving a Zumwalt stealth destroyer from General Dynamics on Friday.
Capt. Jim Downey, program manager of the Zumwalt-class Naval Sea Systems Command, welcomed the turnover of the new warship, calling it a significant achievement both for the designers and builders of the vessel as well for the U.S. Navy.
"This impressive ship incorporates a new design alongside the integration of sophisticated new technologies that will lead the Navy into the next generation of capabilities," Downey said.
Designed and built by General Dynamics' shipbuilding division Bath Iron Works, the Zumwalt-class destroyer has been in development since the late 1990s.
In 2002, the program was called DD(X) while it was still under the supervision of Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. However, it was renamed DDG 1000 in 2006.
Work on the stealth destroyer was later transferred to the U.S. Navy, with Bath Iron Works taking on the responsibility of building the ship itself. Meanwhile, Raytheon continued its development of the Zumwalt's combat system.
The Navy had originally envisioned 32 stealth destroyers for its fleet but eventually had to trim it down to three warships.
Following the delivery of the first Zumwalt-class warship on Friday, a crew from the Navy has officially taken control of the destroyer. They are set to take the ship to the naval base in Virginia and then to Maryland for a commissioning ceremony in October. It will then become a part of the Navy's fleet stationed in San Diego.
In 2017, Raytheon and the Navy will continue working on the Zumwalt's combat systems, which include its sensors, weapons and radars. It is expected to be ready for operational testing by the latter part of 2017 or the early part of 2018.
Bath Iron Works is currently finishing the construction of the two other Zumwalt-class destroyers.