U.S. Navy Stealth Destroyer USS Zumwalt Completes First Large Caliber Weapons Firing Event

The U.S. Navy’s first-in-class stealth destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) successfully executed a “structural test fire” of the Mark 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System (GWS) on the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, Point Mugu, on May 16.

The test-firing onboard Zumwalt was the first large caliber weapons firing event for the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program and occurred only three weeks after the Navy officially accepted delivery of the Combat System. The firing was conducted by Zumwalt Sailors with support from engineers and technicians from the Navy Surface Warfare Centers (NSWC).

Mark 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System on USS Zumwalt
PACIFIC OCEAN (May 16, 2020) Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) conducts a live-fire of the Mark 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System during a combat systems testing trial at sea May 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer Cameron Chadd) /RELEASED)EDITED

“The privilege of being a ‘first-in-class’ ship includes having the opportunity to systematically conduct testing across the breadth of systems installed onboard the ship,” said Capt. Andrew Carlson, Zumwalt’s commanding officer. “The real plus is conducting those tests, such as today’s live-fire with the Mark 46 GWS, which provide tangible evidence of combat capability maturation.”

The Mark 46 GWS is a remotely operated naval gun system that uses a 30 mm high-velocity cannon, a forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, a low light television camera, and a laser rangefinder for shipboard self-defense against small, high-speed surface targets. The weapon system is already successfully installed and operated on LPD-17 San Antonio amphibious transport dock ships and littoral combat ships (LCS).

Structural test-fires assess structural and electrical components of the ship against shock and vibration of the weapon firing, as well as measuring any potential hazards to personnel or degradations to adjacent equipment as a result of firing live ordnance. The tests are a coordinated effort between the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program Office, the U.S. 3rd Fleet, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Surface Warfare Centers located in Dahlgren, Virginia, Port Hueneme, California, and Indian Head, Maryland.

“Today’s event is the first in a chapter of live fire test events over the next year that will prove the lethal capability that these ships will bring to the fight,” remarked Lt. Cmdr. Tim Kubisak, the Zumwalt Test Officer for the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, embarked on Zumwalt.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is designed and built to execute multiple maritime missions including deterrence and power projection. The ships’ stealth and ability to operate in both the open ocean and near-shore environments creates a new level of battlespace complexity for potential adversaries.

USS Zumwalt is 100 feet longer and 13 feet wider than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer at 610 feet long, providing the space required to execute a wider array of surface, undersea, and aviation missions.

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during her acceptance trials on April 21, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Released)

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