By David Schneider -
Two decades ago, the U.S. Navy began designing what it then called its “21st-century destroyers.” These were to be a fleet of 32 guided-missile destroyers that would be able to cruise near coastlines and attack forces on land with mind-boggling might. In 2001, though, the Navy canceled that program and replaced it with a less costly alternative.
It took another dozen years, but the first destroyer of that new generation is now nearing completion. Although less ambitious than the original concept, the first ship of this new class, the USS Zumwalt, is pioneering so many advanced technologies that some decision makers have criticized the program for trying to do too much, too soon.
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