The US Navy's first Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) guided-missile destroyer has sailed out to sea from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for the first time to begin its maiden sea trials.
The futuristic USS Zumwalt will be tested for its performance and seaworthiness during the builder sea trials, before delivering it to the navy next year.
The destroyer was originally scheduled to be delivered this year.
USS Zumwalt skipper, navy captain James Kirk was quoted by AP as saying: "We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway. For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone."
The 610ft-long Zumwalt destroyers have a displacement capacity of more than 15,700t when fully loaded, and are designed for multi-mission littoral operations and land attack.
Featuring new technologies that provide capabilities now and for incorporation into future ships, the next-generation of multi-mission surface combatants are equipped with highly survivable integrated power systems.
Additional features of the ship include two advanced-gun systems, firing long-range land attack projectiles, which provide precision, high volume and persistent fire support to forces ashore.
The active and passive sensors and multi-function radar of the DDG 1000 ship will enable it to conduct area-air surveillance, including over-land, throughout the extremely difficult and cluttered sea-land interface.
Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), the second destroyer, will be delivered in November 2016. The delivery of Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002), in December 2018, remains on schedule.
Image: The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.