Navy’s Future

Photo+courtesy+of+cnn.com

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

Imagine ships that fire missiles seven times the speed of sound without the use of explosives, ships that use lasers to destroy threats at the cost of a dollar a shot, and vessels that make fuel from the very water their floating on. These new improvements are just a glimpse of what the U.S. Navy has in store for the future, but the best part is that they’ve already built a prototype: the USS Zumwalt, reported to USA Today.

The USS Zumwalt is the Navy’s first stealth destroyer. At 610 feet long and 80 feet wide, it’s about a 100 by 20 feet bigger than anything the U.S. already has in the water, in terms of Arleigh Burke class Destroyers. The USS Zumwalt is stealthy, not by speed, or size, but by architecture. The canopy and the rest of the destroyer are built on angles that make it over 50 times harder to spot on radar, than any other destroyer, according to CNN.

“It has a radar cross-section of a fishing boat,” Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told CNN.

In the current configuration, the USS Zumwalt carries a deadly arsenal of weapons, including two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), which can carry a fire rocket- powered, computer guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles away. That is currently times farther than ordinary destroyer guns can fire, according to USA Today.

One, laser weapon system will be tested on board the amphibious transport dock on the USS Zumwalt. The laser weapon is designed to take on aircraft and smaller vessels that may pose a threat to Navy ships. The laser is able to fired by one sailor and do it at little cost, according to CNN.

“This is a revolutionary capability,” Rear Adm. Mathew Klunder, chief of Naval Research, said in a statement, according to USA Today. “This very affordable technology is going to change the way we fight and save lives.”

The Navy also thinks that a new type of rail gun they invented, based off of an electromagnet, will save money and provide a sharper force, according to CNN.

“Spending about $1 per shot of a directed reusable energy source that never runs out gives us an alternative to firing costly munitions at inexpensive threats,” Klunder said, according to USA Today.