The US Navy has launched its third and final Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) guided-missile destroyer, future USS Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002), from General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine.

The launch process involved moving the destroyer from the land level facility to the dry dock, which was then flooded until the vessel started floating.

US Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 1000 programme manager captain Kevin Smith said: “It’s important for the DDG 1000 programme and shipyard to reach this major milestone.

“With the first two ships of the class underway, we are excited to continue the next phase of construction of the future Lyndon B Johnson.”

The vessel has been named in honour of the 36th US President, Lyndon B Johnson.

DDG 1002 prospective commanding officer captain Jeremy Gray said: “The crew of Lyndon B Johnson looks forward to bringing this great warship honouring our 36th president to life, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to be present for this important step in the ship’s construction.

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“It is truly impressive to see the ship afloat in the Kennebec River for the first time and we look forward to taking her to the sea.”

“It is truly impressive to see the ship afloat in the Kennebec River for the first time and we look forward to taking her to the sea.”

Following its launch, the vessel will now undergo final outfitting and is due to be christened in the first quarter of 2019.

USS Lyndon B Johnson’s keel was laid in January 2017.

Designed for littoral and land attack operations, the Zumwalt-class multi-mission vessels feature advanced electric propulsion system, wave-piercing tumblehome hull and stealth design.

The destroyers can conduct area air surveillance, including over-land, throughout the sea-land interface, power projection, and command and control missions.

In February, the second Zumwalt-class destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), concluded its acceptance trials.

Bath Iron Works shipyard is also constructing the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) and Carl M Levin (DDG 120).