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CHIPS Articles: Talking with the Chief Engineer Aboard DDG 1000

Talking with the Chief Engineer Aboard DDG 1000
Lt. Cmdr. Chase says Zumwalt-class well-suited for future high energy weapons and sensors
By CHIPS Magazine - September 23, 2014
Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Chase is the Chief Engineer aboard the Zumwalt, which is slated to be commissioned in 2016. The Zumwalt-class destroyer represents the next-generation of multi-mission surface combatants and will enable access in the open ocean, littoral and ashore.

The ship includes new technologies that deliver capability now and serve as a springboard for incorporation into future ship classes, according to the Navy. DDG 1000 is the first U.S. Navy surface combatant to employ an innovative and highly survivable Integrated Power System which will provide power to propulsion, ship's service, and combat system loads from the same gas turbine prime movers. DDG 1000's power allocation flexibility allows for potentially significant energy savings and is well-suited to enable future high energy weapons and sensors.

The ship features two advanced gun systems firing long-range land attack projectiles that reach up to 63 nautical miles, providing precision, high volume and persistent fire support to forces ashore, along with an approximate five-fold improvement in naval surface fire range. DDG 1000 will employ active and passive sensors and multifunction radar capable of conducting area air surveillance, including over-land, throughout the extremely difficult and cluttered sea-land interface, according to the Navy.

The wave-piercing Tumblehome ship design provides a wide array of advancements, according to the Program Executive Office for Ships. The shape of the superstructure and the arrangement of its antennas significantly reduce cross section, making the ship less visible to enemy radar at sea. The design also allows for optimal manning with a standard crew size of 130 and an aviation detachment of 28 Sailors thereby decreasing lifecycle operations and support costs.

The Zumwalt’s motto is Pax Proctor Vim (Peace Through Power).

CHIIPS asked Lt. Cmdr. Chase to talk about his work on the Zumwalt and he responded in an email in September.

Q: The Zumwalt is loaded with advanced technology, as the chief engineer, are you responsible for all the advanced equipment on the ship? When you were studying at the Naval Academy is this type of work you hoped to perform?

A: As chief engineer, I am responsible to the commanding officer for all things hull, mechanical, and electrical (HM&E) onboard Zumwalt. With regards to the actual pieces of combat equipment, I am responsible of providing the power, water, etc., that makes those pieces of equipment operational … not that actual equipment.

I never would have imagined 10 years ago when I was commissioned that I would one day be standing here as chief engineer on the Zumwalt. While I was studying at the Naval Academy, I was actually interested in attending law school (political science major) and transferring into the JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) Corps at some point during my career. However, as my career progressed, I became increasingly immersed and naturally interested in the Surface Warfare community that I was assigned at commissioning and decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a Surface Warfare Officer.

Q: Has all the high-tech equipment been installed on the ship? Are you assisting with the installation? Are personnel being trained to operate the new equipment?

A: Not all of the high-tech equipment has been installed — combat systems and weapons — that is. Most of the engineering plant has been installed and is currently undergoing different stages of testing at this time. I am not personally assisting with the installation; however, Zumwalt engineering Sailors and I are actively participating with integration and testing.

Ever since arriving up here in Bath, Maine, last September, Zumwalt Sailors have been undergoing an aggressive training schedule in order to familiarize ourselves with this brand new engineering plant and then follow on training in order to learn how to operate and maintain the equipment onboard Zumwalt.

Q: Can you talk about some of the new technologies such as the stealth technology, Integrated Power System and multifunction radar?

A: I’m not privy to talking too much about the stealth technology other than that the signature of this ship is unlike any other and allows Zumwalt to operate in all theaters in support of mission tasking.

With regard to the Integrated Power System (IPS), it is a system that generates, distributes and converts electrical power to support all of Zumwalt’s systems and equipment. It is divided between the High Voltage Power System: generators, propulsion, switchboards, and radar; and the Low Voltage Power System: integrated fight through power, the ship’s service distribution system, and emergency power. The IPS provides Zumwalt the flexibility to respond and react to any situation and maintains the capability to implement high-energy future technologies as they mature.

Q: What is the size of the crew right now and what kind of work are they performing?

A: The Zumwalt crew currently has 105 Sailors assigned, 94 up here at the Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) and 11 at the Pre-Commissioning Detachment (PCD). We are mostly undergoing training; however, we are also currently writing all of the ship’s instructions as well as validating technical documents, for the Engineering Operating Sequencing Systems (EOSS), Aviation Fuel OSS (AFOSS), Sewage Disposal OSS (SDOSS), technical manuals, and others, as they [new equipment and systems] are delivered.

Q: A lot has been written about the Zumwalt’s advanced technologies, will there be quality of life improvements for the crew?

A: I believe any Sailor coming to Zumwalt will be amazed at the quality of life improvements. From the staterooms for the Sailors through the fitness rooms and galley/mess decks, the health and fitness of each Sailor has been tailored into the design of Zumwalt.

Q: Will you be onboard for the commissioning? What happens to the Zumwalt after commissioning?

A: I will, in fact, be onboard for the commissioning. Upon commissioning, Zumwalt will undergo iterations of test and certification events as she transits to her homeport [San Diego]. She will experience a Post-Sail Away Availability (PSA) where certain systems will be fixed based upon the results from acceptance trials and anything previously agreed upon to be deferred until then.

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According to an article published by Surface Warfare magazine, enlisted Sailors have four-person staterooms with an inside head and local area network drops for Internet access.

The DDG 1000 class offers more lounge and recreation space than other surface combatants, including a dedicated fitness facility. The ship offers a crew-training facility and a learning multimedia resource center as well.

The Navy intends to procure three Zumwalt Class Destroyers which are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations, Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr.

Construction on DDG 1000 (Zumwalt) commenced in February 2009 and the keel laying took place on Nov. 17, 2011. Launch is scheduled for Fall 2013, followed by ship delivery in Fall 2014.

DDG 1001 was named Michael Monsoor in October 2008 by then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter, honoring Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. DDG 1001 start of fabrication took place in October 2009 followed by keel laying on May 23, 2013. Launch is scheduled for 2014, followed by ship delivery in 2015.

In April 2012, DDG 1002 was named Lyndon B Johnson by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The selection of Lyndon B. Johnson honors the nation's 36th president and continues the Navy tradition of naming ships after presidents. DDG 1002 start of fabrication took place April 4, 2012.

For more information about the Zumwalt class, go to PEO Ships at www.navsea.navy.mil/teamships/PEOS_DDG1000/default.aspx.

For more Navy news go to: Navy News Service.

Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Chase is the Chief Engineer aboard the Zumwalt, DDG 1000. U.S. Navy photo.
Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Chase is the Chief Engineer aboard the Zumwalt, DDG 1000. U.S. Navy photo.

DDG 1000 at Bath Iron Works January 2013. Photo courtesy Bath Iron Works.
DDG 1000 at Bath Iron Works January 2013. Photo courtesy Bath Iron Works.

BATH, Maine (Oct. 28, 2013) The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics.
BATH, Maine (Oct. 28, 2013) The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics.

BATH, Maine (April 12, 2014) Members of the christening party for the guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) pose for a photo after the ship's christening. Capt. James A. Kirk, front, prospective commanding officer of PCU Zumwalt; retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. James G. Zumwalt; ship sponsor Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, and ship sponsor Ann Zumwalt. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works by Dennis Griggs.
BATH, Maine (April 12, 2014) Members of the christening party for the guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) pose for a photo after the ship's christening. Capt. James A. Kirk, front, prospective commanding officer of PCU Zumwalt; retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. James G. Zumwalt; ship sponsor Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, and ship sponsor Ann Zumwalt. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works by Dennis Griggs.
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