The country’s largest destroyer, the U.S.S. Zumwalt, deployed from its home at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine on Wednesday and set sail with the smallest crew in naval history since the 1930s.
While the 610-foot, 15,000-ton warship technologically resembles the Starship Enterprise from the television series “Star Trek” — with a captain’s bridge hemmed by 360 degrees of video monitors and automated weapons, fire and flood control systems — there is no relation.
“Certainly, I have been ribbed every now and then with someone saying, ‘You’re going where no man has gone before on this class of ship,’” Captain Kirk told The Associated Press.
The stealth ship cost about $4.4 billion and is operated by a crew of 147 officers and sailors, about half the personnel of other current destroyers.
“The three things this crew exemplifies is high level of technical expertise, great teamwork and then the toughness to get done what needs to get done,” Captain Kirk said at a ceremony in Bath, Me., last week before the Zumwalt maneuvered down the Kennebec River to sea.
It began a three-month journey to its new home port in San Diego.
The Zumwalt class of destroyer ships focuses on sea-to-land attacks and is part of a $22.5 billion program. The program ignited controversy when it was first introduced more than 15 years ago. In a House Armed Services Committee report, officials wrote that they believed the ships were built with “too much capability into a single platform.”