The U.S. Navy announced that its stealth destroyer, featuring a tumblehome hull, performed well in high seas with 20-foot waves. Above the waterline, the hull design narrows instead of widening as would be normal. Angular features across the rest of the destroyer limit detection by radar. Military engineers expect the stealth design to transform naval warfare, but concerns had been high about the tumblehome hull, which had been historically associated with problems.

Stable In Sea State 6

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The Sea State Scale from the World Meteorological Organization ranges from 0 to 9. Sea State 6 represents very rough seas that challenge all vessels. When a strong storm presented itself off the coast of Alaska, the Navy decided to sail the Zumwalt straight into the rough conditions. During the test, engineers evaluated the ship’s structural and operational responses.

Credit: Naval Surface Warriors

Due to the hull’s experimental nature, stability in such conditions was very much a concern. The Zumwalt is the largest ship built with this type of hull. However, the stealth destroyer proved to be exceptionally seaworthy. The Zumwalt’s captain said that the tumblehome hull rolled less than normal ships. He and the crew had to adjust their expectations because ships normally roll as much as 15 degrees in heavy seas, and the Zumwalt’s shifting was minimal by comparison.

More Wave Pool Testing Planned

Engineers will study the data collected during the real-life test in heavy seas at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Carderock, Maryland. The location contains a massive wave pool where engineers can reproduce high seas at a model scale. Engineers will compare the real-world results to results produced in the wave pool.

Credit: The latest and most expensive naval destroyer is rounding Fort Popham in Georgetown, Maine on her way to the open seas and after commissioning in Baltimore to her home base in San Diego. Credit: Paul VanDerWerf

After this promising high-seas test, do you expect the tumblehome hull to become widespread?

ABOUT World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.

Established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences a year later. The Secretariat, headquartered in Geneva, is headed by the Secretary-General. Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress.

WMO works to facilitate worldwide cooperation in the design and delivery of meteorological services, foster the rapid exchange of meteorological information, advance the standardization of meteorological data, build cooperation between meteorological and hydrological services, encourage research and training in meteorology, and expand the use of meteorology to benefit other sectors such as aviation, shipping, agriculture and water management.

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