On 15 October the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), namesake of a new class of 15,000-ton destroyers, was commissioned into service at an historic ceremony in Baltimore. The Zumwalt and her two planned sisters, the Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) and the Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) are stealthy multipurpose warships optimized for land-attack and littoral missions. These massive destroyers have wave-piercing tumblehome hulls featuring inward sloping sides above the waterline and enclosed masts, antennas, bridge, exhaust stacks, and sensors to enhance signature reduction. The Zumwalt’s superstructure makes extensive use of composites. She is fitted with an integrated electric power system that generates approximately 78 megawatts, providing efficient distribution of power around the ship for propulsion and electrical needs, as well as sufficient room for growth to accommodate future weapon systems. The Zumwalt will be based in San Diego, and once fully operational, will be armed with an 80-tube VLS system and two 155-mm advanced gun systems.
On 10 October the German Navy commissioned its sixth Type 212A submarine, named U 36 and numbered S-136, and put into service with the 1st Submarine Squadron at Eckernförde naval base. The Type 212A boats are advanced conventional submarines equipped with air independent propulsion systems. Using polymer electrolytic membrane fuel cells, these boats can operate submerged—without snorkelling—for more than two weeks at a time. Displacing roughly 1,850 tons when submerged, the fifth and sixth units of the class are 187-feet long and feature a number of minor improvements over the first four Type 212A boats. All six submarines of this class, U 31 through U 36, are armed with six 21-inch torpedo tubes and can carry heavyweight torpedoes and naval mines. Germany plans to acquire two additional Type 212A submarines in the near future. The Italian Navy, which has procured four sister submarines, remains the only export customer for the Type 212A.
This past summer the Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel HMBS Nassau, pictured here, arrived at Damen shipyard in the Netherlands to begin an extensive overhaul. The Nassau follows her sister the Bahamas, which underwent a similar mid-life modernization earlier this year. These refits are part of a larger contract signed with the Bahamas in 2014 for acquisition of nine new Damen craft, including a mix of Stan Patrol 3007, Stan Patrol 4207, and Stan Lander 5612 vessels from the Dutch firm. The 375-ton patrol craft Nassau and Bahamas are each nearly 20 years old and were originally built in the United States to a modified British design. These 199-footers have a top speed of 24 knots and typically are employed on counter-drug, search-and-rescue, EEZ patrol, and disaster relief operations. Their refits take approximately nine months each and include extensive overhauls of the propulsion system and bridge, along with additional work on the steel hull. The Nassau’s refit is expected to be completed by next summer.
Mr. Wertheim, a defense consultant in the Washington, D.C., area, is the author of the 16th edition of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, published by the Naval Institute Press (see www.usni.org).