Bath Iron Works' workers transitioned the USS Zumwalt (DDG1000) from its land-level construction facility to a floating dry dock on Monday morning. Officials then flooded the dock and the ship was removed from its cradle. Monday evening the ship "was floated off and tied to a pier on the Kennebec River," Navy officials said.
The largest destroyer ever built at 600 feet has been under construction since 2009. The launch was supposed to occur earlier in the month, but the shutdown postponed the transition.
"This is the largest ship Bath Iron Works has ever constructed and the Navy's largest destroyer. The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity," Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager, said in a statement. "Due to meticulous planning and execution, the operation went very smoothly. I'm extremely pleased with the results and applaud the combined efforts of the Navy-industry team."
Construction on the DDG 1000 is about 87 percent complete as work will continue in a lead up to the planned delivery to the Navy late next year, officials said.
The DDG 1000 is the first in its class with two more already scheduled to be built. Work has started on the Michael Monsoor (DDG1001) and the third Zumwalt-class will be the Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002). The Navy had originally planned to build 32 ships into the fleet. However, costs spiraled and the Navy instead chose to build more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
Photos courtesy of US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.