December 6, 2017

News Briefs – December 6, 2017

U.S. Navy’s second stealthy destroyer heads out to sea for 1st time

The second in the U.S. Navy stealthy Zumwalt class of destroyers headed out to sea for the first time Dec. 4, departing from Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works for builder trials.

The future USS Michael Monsoor carefully navigated the winding Kennebec River in Maine before reaching the North Atlantic. It’ll be at sea for several days before returning to Bath Iron Works for tweaks and adjustments.

Part of the 610-foot-long (186-meter-long) ship’s crew posed for photos at Fort Popham, in Phippsburg, as the ship cruised past.

The Monsoor is the second in a class of three futuristic-looking ships that feature electric-drive propulsion, new radar and sonar, powerful guns and missiles and a stealthy shape.

The first, the USS Zumwalt, has been commissioned into service and is based in San Diego. The third will be the Lyndon B. Johnson, which is under construction.

The Monsoor is named for a Navy SEAL, Michael Monsoor, who died in Iraq in 2006 when he threw himself on an insurgent’s grenade to protect his comrades. Monsoor, a 25-year-old California native, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

The three warships are the largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyers built for the Navy. They’re also the most expensive, with an estimated cost of $12.9 billion for all three, according to Navy budget estimates. AP

United States, South Korea start massive air force drills

The United States and South Korea have started their biggest-ever joint air force exercise with hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Dec. 4 the five-day drill called Vigilant Ace will improve their capabilities in wartime.

The U.S. 7th Air Force deployed major strategic military assets including six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the regular exercise in the Korean Peninsula. About 12,000 U.S. military personnel are participating.

It takes places a week after North Korea test-launched its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile that puts most of the U.S. within range.

On Dec. 3, Senator Lindsey Graham said it is time for U.S. military families in South Korea to leave the country because the conflict with North Korea is getting close. AP

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