updated 2:10 PM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014 | Filed under: Innovations
U.S. Navy's new stealth
CNN) -- Imagine ships that fire missiles at seven times the speed of sound without using explosives, or that use lasers to destroy threats at the cost of about a dollar a shot, and vessels making fuel from the very seawater in which they're floating. That's the glimpse of the high-tech future the U.S. Navy gave this week. And these aren't just ideas. They've all been shown to work to some degree. Saturday, the Navy will christen its most advanced warship ever, the destroyer USS Zumwalt, which may one day be using these new technologies. The Zumwalt, which was launched last year and is to be christened at Bath Iron Works in Maine, is the Navy's first stealth destroyer. At 610 feet long and 80 feet wide, it's about 100 feet longer and 20 feet wider than ships in the Navy's current fleet of Arleigh Burke class destroyers, but the canopy and the rest of the Zumwalt is built on angles that help make it 50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer. "It has the radar cross-section of a fishing boat," Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told CNN when the ship was launched last year. In its current configuration, the Zumwalt will carry a considerable arsenal of weapons, including two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), which can fire rocket-powered, computer-guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles away. That's three times farther than ordinary destroyer guns can fire. But in the future, it could be fitted with the even more advanced systems the Navy talked about this week.
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