SAN DIEGO (AP) — The U.S. Navy’s biggest, most expensive and most technologically advanced destroyer arrived at its homeport on Thursday after a nearly four-month transit that included some hiccups, such as a high-profile breakdown in the Panama Canal.
The USS Zumwalt arrived in San Diego to a welcoming ceremony that included the commander of naval surface forces, Vice Adm. Tom Rowden. The ship has a crew of 147 officers and sailors, and its commanding officer is Capt. James Kirk.
“We have looked forward to pulling into San Diego for a long time,” Kirk said.
The Zumwalt departed Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works in September before being commissioned into service in Baltimore in October. It made several additional port calls en route to its final destination.
During the trip, the first-in-class ship was sidelined for repairs a couple of times, including after it lost propulsion in the Panama Canal, necessitating a tow and an extended stay for repairs.
In San Diego, the crew and contractors will begin installation of combat systems and further testing and evaluation.
The 610-foot-long warship features new technology including an electric power plant that drives it, an inward-sloping tumblehome hull, a composite deckhouse that hides sensors and an angular shape to minimize its radar signature.
The futuristic-looking ship weighs in at nearly 15,000 tons, about 50 percent heavier than current destroyers. But the crew size is half of the 300 personnel of other destroyers, thanks to advanced automation.
That technology comes at a price: The Zumwalt’s cost is north of $4.4 billion. Two more ships in the class are being built in Maine.