Report: Navy Sending ‘Hypersonic Missile’ Capable Warship to Eastern Asia

The United States Navy is deploying its “most advanced” surface warship, capable of being armed with “hypersonic missiles” to eastern Asia, CNN reported Tuesday.

According to the news outlet, the USS Zumwalt “stealth” destroyer, a vessel that could be armed with “hypersonic missiles,” headed for Japan on Monday following a port call in Guam last week, 7th Fleet spokesperson Lt. Mark Langford told CNN.

“The presence of a stealth warship will draw a great deal of [Chinese] interest,” especially if the Zumwalt is outfitted with hypersonic weapons, analyst Carl Schuster, a former U.S. Navy captain, told CNN.

According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the Zumwalt is one of two different 16,000-ton destroyers that can handle the new Common Hypersonic Glide Body missiles and will be the first platform fitted for the missiles before they are deployed on submarines.

“Zumwalt gave us an opportunity to get [hypersonics] out faster and to be honest with you, I need a solid mission for Zumwalt,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told USNI News last year.

According to the Navy, “Zumwalt is named after Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., who served as the 19th chief of naval operations, and is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multimission destroyers designed to strengthen naval power from the sea.”

“Demonstrating the capability of our combat suite and the lethality of our systems is critical to furthering the Zumwalt class,” Capt. Amy McInnis, Zumwalt’s commanding officer said in the Navy’s article in April when the ship completed its first live fire standard missile exercises. “Zumwalt continues to make great strides, and we are excited to continue to test her limits later this year.”

Once equipped with the new hypersonic missiles, which can reach speeds above Mach 5 by using a booster rocket motor, the 610-foot ship will play “integral role in maintaining our competitive edge and assuring our allies and partners in the region,” Lt. Katherine Serrano, a spokesperson for Destroyer Squadron 15 told CNN.

According to the report, the Zumwalt class ships cost $8 billion each to build, but are slow to complete.

The ship, which has a stealth design, is armed with 80 vertical launch cells for missiles that can strike land and sea targets.

“The wave-piercing ‘tumblehome’ hull design has facilitated a wide array of advancements. The composite superstructure significantly reduces radar cross section and other signatures, making the ship harder to detect by enemies at sea,” CNN reported according to the Navy fact sheet.


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