SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Navy's newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt, is scheduled to arrive in San Diego Thursday.
The arrival will come a little more than two weeks after the $4.4 billion ship's propulsion system broke down in the Panama Canal. The 610-foot- long vessel had to pull into port in Panama to make repairs before continuing the voyage to San Diego, which will serve as its home port.
Commissioned in October in Baltimore, the Zumwalt has an angular appearance vastly different from current destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class in order to lower its radar signature. Navy officials said it was the "lead ship of a class of next-generation multimission destroyers."
The destroyer will be capable of performing a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions while allowing the Navy to evolve with new systems and missions, Navy officials said.
"The only thing more impressive than the capabilities of the ship are the capabilities of its fine crew," said Capt. James Kirk, the commanding officer.
On arrival in San Diego, BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair will begin installation of combat systems, while the crew will conduct testing and evaluation, and operational integration with the fleet.
The vessel is named after Adm. Elmo "Bud" Zumwalt Jr. who is credited with building the modern U.S. Navy.
He served as commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam during the war there. He ordered the use of the chemical defoliant "Agent Orange," which dropped the American casualty rate but had adverse effects on those exposed to it.
Zumwalt became the Navy's youngest Chief of Naval Operations at age 49 and radically changed the face of the Navy as both a surface warrior and a social reformer," according to the Navy. He issued personal messages and directives in so-called "Z-Grams" that ushered in numerous changes, such as equal opportunity for minorities, relaxed grooming standards and quality of life improvements.
Zumwalt died in 2000 at age 79.
Two other Zumwalt-class destroyers are under construction.