US Navy floats out Zumwalt quietly and without fanfare

So that’s that. Thanks, govt shutdown! I’m sure the folks in Maine appreciate having to do it without thanks.

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

BATH, Maine — There was no band. No streamers. No champagne.

The Navy’s stealthy Zumwalt destroyer floated out of dry dock without fanfare Monday night and into the waters of the Kennebec River, where the warship will remain dockside for final construction.

The largest destroyer ever built for the Navy, the Zumwalt looks like no other U.S. warship, with an angular profile and clean carbon fiber superstructure that hides antennas and radar masts.

“The Zumwalt is really in a league of its own,” said defense consultant Eric Wertheim, author of the “The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.”

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

Originally envisioned as a “stealth destroyer,” the Zumwalt has a low-slung appearance and angles that deflect radar. Its wave-piercing hull aims for a smoother ride.The 610-foot ship is a behemoth that’s longer and bigger than the current class of destroyers. It was originally designed for shore bombardment and features a 155mm “Advanced Gun System” that fires rocket-propelled warheads that have a range of nearly 100 miles.

Thanks to computers and automation, it will have only about half the complement of sailors as the current generation of destroyers.

Critics, however, felt the Navy was trying to incorporate too much new technology — a new hull, computer automation, electric propulsion, new radar and new gun — into one package. At one point, the program was nearly scrapped because of growing cost. Eventually, the program was truncated to three ships, the Zumwalt being the first.

Dozens of local residents gathered to watch the hours-long process of floating the ship in a dry dock. In the water for the first time, the ship was a sight to behold.

“It’s absolutely massive. It’s higher than the tree line on the other side. It’s an absolutely huge ship — very imposing. It’s massively dominating the waterfront,” said Amy Lent, executive director of the Maine Maritime Museum, who watched the process from her office down river from the shipyard.

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

The big ship was supposed to be christened with a bottle of Champagne crashed against its bow by the two daughters of the late Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, but the ceremony earlier this month was canceled because of the partial federal government shutdown.

Workers at Bath Iron Works, part of General Dynamics, will continue working on the ship throughout the winter. The shipyard hopes to hold a rescheduled christening in the spring, with sea trials following in the fall. Bath Iron Works plans to deliver the ship to the Navy in 2015.

OTDIH 18 Oct 1775 A Royal Navy squadron under Captain Henry Mowat burned Portland, Maine

A Royal Navy squadron under Captain Henry Mowat burned Falmouth, Massachusetts (site of the modern city of Portland, Maine) on 18 October 1775.

Amazing photos of Zumwalt (DDG 1000) at Bath Iron Works

via Defense News, some amazing photographs of the Zumwalt.

Zumwalt DDG 1000. US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, photography by Michael C. Nutter.

Zumwalk DDG 1000. US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, photography by Michael C. Nutter.

More photos here.

It’s a shame (and embarrassment) that the christening has been cancelled due to the US govt shutdown, but work on the Zumwalt continues. “Bath-built is best-built.” Or so they say. These are impressive photographs of impressive-looking vessels. Can’t wait to see them manned and in the water.

Pentagon budget cuts mean USS Miami will be scrapped, not repaired

The USS Miami will be scrapped, not repaired.

Navy drops plans to repair submarine Miami

Smoke rises from a dry dock as fire crews respond Wednesday, May 23, 2012 to a fire on the nuclear submarine Miami, SSN 755, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on an island in Kittery, Maine. Seven people were injured, including a firefighter. (AP Photo | The Herald, Ionna Raptis)

PORTLAND, Maine

The Navy has decided to scrap the Miami instead of repairing the nuclear-powered submarine because of budget cuts and growing costs of repairing damage from a fire set by a shipyard worker while the vessel was in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, officials said Tuesday.

Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, director of undersea warfare, said repairing the Groton, Conn.-based sub would have meant canceling work on dozens of other ships because of new budget restraints.

He said that would’ve hurt the Navy’s overall readiness.

“The Navy and the nation simply cannot afford to weaken other fleet readiness in the way that would be required to afford repairs to Miami,” Breckenridge said in a statement.

Inspections revealed that a significant number of components in the torpedo room and auxiliary machinery room would require replacement, further driving up the repair costs for the Miami. The Navy originally said it planned to repair the submarine, but the discovery of additional damage raised the cost, originally estimated to be about $450 million.

A shipyard worker, Casey James Fury of Portsmouth, N.H., was sentenced to 17 years in prison after admitting he set fire to the Miami, which was undergoing a 20-month overhaul at the Kittery shipyard.

It took 12 hours and the efforts of more than 100 firefighters to save the Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Seven people were hurt.

The fire, set on May 23, 2012, damaged forward compartments including living quarters, a command and control center and the torpedo room. Weapons had been removed for the repair, and the fire never reached the rear of the submarine, where the nuclear propulsion components are located.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine and Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire issued a statement blaming the decision to scrap the submarine on the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

“We are disappointed by the Navy’s decision to discontinue repairs to the USS Miami. Inactivating the Miami will mean a loss to our nuclear submarine fleet — yet another unfortunate consequence of the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. We will continue to work together to find a responsible budget solution that replaces sequestration,” they said.

The Navy announced last summer that it intended to repair the Miami with a goal of returning it to service in 2015. The Navy said it would be cost-effective because the 22-year-old submarine could serve another 10 years.

The decision to deactivate the Miami was a difficult one, “taken after hard analysis and not made lightly,” Breckenridge said in his statement. “But in exchange for avoiding the cost of repairs, we will open up funds to support other vital maintenance efforts, improving the wholeness and readiness of the fleet.”

The repairs have potential implications for both Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers and workers from Electric Boat in Groton, who expected to play a major role in the repair effort.

http://hamptonroads.com/2013/08/navy-drops-plans-repair-submarine-miami