US Navy’s new warship, USS Zumwalt, can prepare for battle on its own: report

The 610-foot, 15,000-ton ship still needs humans aboard, but its cutting edge technology allows it to anticipate many of the crew’s needs.

BY MICHAEL WALSH
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 

The USS Zumwalt, the US Navy's new high-tech ship, floats in a dry dock of the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard. Released/Distributed by Navy Media Content Service 703-614-9154 General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

The USS Zumwalt, the US Navy’s new high-tech ship, floats in a dry dock of the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard. Released/Distributed by Navy Media Content Service 703-614-9154 General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy’s new warship has a mind of its own — and it’s blurring the line between science fiction and fact.

The highly automated, 610-foot USS Zumwalt can prepare itself for battle and lock onto targets all by itself, according to a new report.

Wade Knudson led the Zumwalt project for Raytheon Company, the defense contractor behind the warship. He spoke to Bloomberg BusinessWeek about all the bells and whistles that will come with this next-generation war machine.

Knudson explained that the USS Zumwalt’s advanced stealth system will let it maneuver across the seas while showing up as a tiny blip — about the size of a fishing boat — on enemy radar. It will also boast GPS that will guide its rock-propelled firepower to targets.

This artist rendering shows what the Zumwalt class destroyer DDG 1000 can do in battle — by itself, if need be. Released/Distributed by Navy Visual News Service 703-614-9154 U.S. Navy Photo/U.S. Navy     This artist rendering shows what the Zumwalt class destroyer DDG 1000 can do in battle — by itself, if need be. Released/Distributed by Navy Visual News Service 703-614-9154 U.S. Navy Photo/U.S. Navy

This artist rendering shows what the Zumwalt class destroyer DDG 1000 can do in battle — by itself, if need be. Released/Distributed by Navy Visual News Service 703-614-9154 U.S. Navy Photo/U.S. Navy

Despite all this automation, it isn’t exactly a combat drone because it still needs a human crew to operate.

About 150 people will man the 15,000-ton ship, about half the number required for a regular ship of its size. But it can also operate with a crew as small as 40 people if needed, according to BusinessWeek.

The captain will be able to control the ship from several dozen different consoles across the vessel by logging in with a password, Knudson said.

But what if the password falls into the hands of hackers or terrorists?

Knudson says that there are sophisticated procedures in place to safeguard the password from would-be infiltrators. He also said that it would be highly unlikely for just one person to fire the ship’s weapons, BusinessWeek reported.

This ship is one of three Zumwalt class destroyers with advanced military capabilities. Released/Distributed by Navy Visual News Service 703-614-9154 U.S. Navy Photo/U.S. Navy

This ship is one of three Zumwalt class destroyers with advanced military capabilities. Released/Distributed by Navy Visual News Service 703-614-9154 U.S. Navy Photo/U.S. Navy

Then again, that could be cold comfort for anyone who simply feels this technology has gone too far in the direction of Cyberdyne Systems from “Terminator.”

The USS Zumwalt was reportedly just one of 32 planned warships with this sort of technology. But its hefty price tag $5 billion didn’t go over too well with Congress and now only three are slated to hit the high seas.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-navy-new-uss-zumwalt-prepare-battle-report-article-1.1743213#ixzz2xwfChpIz


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