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/Released)
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01:19 - Source: CNN

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Navy's new destroyer USS Zumwalt boasts operations center bristling with new technology

Advanced workstations allow one sailor to do the work of several on older warships

Although the Zumwalt is the Navy's largest destroyer, it has a small minimum crew of about 130

The operations center is designed to be used by the video-game generation

CNN  — 

The Navy’s new super stealthy destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, has a lot in common with Hollywood’s starship Enterprise, according to folks who’ve seen it in person.

Much has been written about the Zumwalt’s appropriately named commander, Capt. James Kirk. But aside from that coincidence, the ship’s operations center utilizes advanced technology that takes multitasking to a deadly new level on the high seas.

First launched last year, this is a massive $3 billion warship – the largest type of destroyer in the modern Navy by about 65%. One thing that sets it apart is a very small crew.

Compared with about 300 sailors needed for similar warships, the Zumwalt’s minimum compliment is only 130.

The smaller crew is made possible by advanced automated systems which “make it much easier and much more effective for the sailor to operate,” says former Navy Capt. Wade Knudson, who now serves as Zumwalt program director for Pentagon contractor, Raytheon.

In the operations center – which in many ways is the heart of the ship – sailors are surrounded by an array of video displays that have been designed to be used by a generation raised on video games, Knudson says.

Raytheon tested the technology configuration in the operation center with young, gamer sailors, Knudson says. “We’ve brought them down to our labs and we got direct feedback from them using human-factor engineers in order to make sure that we’ve integrated all the displays and information in a way that they can use the systems most effectively.”

The result, he says, is less chance of making errors on the ship. “The system and the computer provide information to the sailor in a way that they’re used to.”