The builder sea trials will answer any questions of seaworthiness for a ship that utilizes a type of hull associated with pre-dreadnought battleships from a century ago.
Critics say the “tumblehome” hull’s sloping shape makes it less stable than conventional hulls, but it contributes to the ship’s stealth and the Navy is confident in the design.
Eric Wertheim, author and editor of the U.S. Naval Institute’s “Guide to Combat Fleets of the World,” said there’s no question the integration of so many new systems from the electric drive to the tumblehome hull carries some level of risk.
Operational concerns, growing costs and fleet makeup led the Navy to truncate the 32-ship program to three ships, he said. With only three ships, the class of destroyers could become something of a technology demonstration project, he said.