(Washington, D.C.) When faced with high winds, up to 20-foot waves and dangerously rough seas -- which Navy ships can survive? … and continue to wage war on the open sea?
Would the new stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer capsize or suffer extreme damage if its wave-piercing Tumblehome hull were subject to massively dangerous stormy sea conditions?
Such questions, often put to the test with new ships during “sea-trials,” were of particular relevance with the Zumwalt, as it is a first-in-class high-tech warship built with a sleek, more linear, stealthy hull. There have been persistent questions as to whether the ship might have stability problems in dangerous sea states, given that it does not have a standard “flare” shaped ship hull used by most destroyers and carriers. Rather, it has a thinner, sharper, smaller wave-piercing hull intended to increase stealth, maneuverability and speed.
The answer, according to the Commanding Officer of the USS Zumwalt Capt. Andrew Carlson, is that the ship has remarkable, if even somewhat surprising, stability.
“We took advantage of a Gulf of Alaska storm which reached Sea State 6 conditions. We were able to drive around in that at full power,” (Sea State 6: A world Meteorological Organization Standard specifying 13 - to 20 foot waves and rough seas). I had some hesitations and I knew the ship rode differently, but I would rather ride this ship in heavy seas,” Carlson said recently during a presentation at the Surface Navy Association Symposium, Arlington.