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Navy sends third, final Zumwalt-class destroyer to sea trials

Navy sends third, final Zumwalt-class destroyer to sea trials
The third ship of the Zumwalt class, the Lyndon B. Johnson, left Bath Iron Works on Friday to start sea trials. Photo courtesy of General Dynamic Bath Iron Works/Twitter

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has sent its third and final ship Zumwalt-class destroyer off to sea trials, its maker, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, announced.

The USS Lyndon B. Johnson, christened in April 2019, left the Bath Iron Works shipyard on Friday, the company said in a tweet, and is expected to be commissioned by the Navy in 2023, after its combat systems are fully installed and activated.

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"We're honored to send this wonderful ship to sea trials on the birthday of its namesake, President Lyndon B. Johnson," for the sea trials, which will "test a multitude of ship systems," General Dynamics Bath Iron Works said in a statement to Naval News.

The ship was named in honor of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was born on Aug. 27, 1908, and served in office from 1963-1969. It will be the first ship to bear his name.

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The third Zumwalt-class ship, one of the largest Navy destroyers, was built as part of a $1.8 billion contract and launched in December 2018.

It was originally going to be part of a 32-vessel fleet, but the program was canceled, leaving the USS Lyndon B Johnson as the last in the class.

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The Zumwalt-class destroyers are "known for their advanced electrical system, capable of powering 50,000 homes, and their stealth as a result of radar-evading design and construction," the shipbuilder added.

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The multi-mission surface combatant can displace almost 16,000 tons with speed of 30 knots and perform a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control mission.

The first ship of the class, USS Zumwalt, was commissioned in a status the Navy calls In Commission, Special in Baltimore, then went to San Diego for installation and activation of its combat systems. It was delivered to the Navy in April 2020.

The second ship, USS Michael Monsoor, was commissioned in January 2019 and similarly went to San Diego for installation of combat systems, which was completed in March 2020.

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Unlike the previous two Zumwalt-class vessels, the Lyndon B. Johnson won't be delivered or commissioned until after its combat systems have been fully installed and activated, James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, told reporters in a teleconference last year.

The U.S. Navy said earlier this year it will seek to arm its three Zumwalt-class destroyers with hypersonic missiles, which can travel at speeds near 5,000 miles per hour.

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