THE largest US destroyer ever built has headed for sea trials, its angular radar-evading form cutting a distinctive figure on Maine’s Kennebec River.
The $4.3 billion USS Zumwalt is the first in a new line of revolutionary guided missile destroyers.
Hundreds of workers were on hand to cheer the ship as it departed the Bath Iron Works in Maine travelling down the Kennebec River to the sea.
The ship is roughly 180 metres long and weighs nearly 15,000 tonnes, making it the largest destroyer in the US fleet.
But thanks to its angled hull and deck house, it is designed to look no bigger than a fishing boat on radar.
Its motors are electric-powered, driven by an innovative integrated power system that may one day also support an array of energy-intensive weapons like lasers and electromagnetic rail guns.
It is intended to be capable of operating in shallow coastal waters, laying down fire to support forces on shore, as well as conducting anti-aircraft and naval surface warfare.
Only three Zumwalt-class ships will be built, as the US Congress cut back funding for original plans for 32 ships, driving up the costs per ship.