Several important developments came to the fore this past week, among them two fundamental changes to the way in which the US Navy plans to fight and protect the seven seas in the 21st Century. First off, the inaugural stealth destroyer, DDG-1000 USS Zumwalt, is currently undergoing rigorous testing by the US Navy and its creator, the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Scheduled to join the fleet in 2016, the Zumwalt employs a stealthy design, boasts fewer crew members, and is much more capable than its predecessors in helping to defend US interests.
More information concerning the Zumwalt class of destroyers can be found here:
Also undergoing testing is a rail gun, which is currently fitted aboard the Joint High-Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3). The rail gun is an especially important change in anti-aircraft defense measures, since it would allow surface vessels to once again sail closer to land masses and no longer fear potent anti-ship missile systems currently deployed by a number of nations. It could also defeat saturation-based air-to-ship missile attacks out to a distance of 100 miles that was accepted as a sound fundamental plan-of-action by certain countries. Its not clear if the rail gun can be retrofitted to the current fleet of US naval vessels and perhaps replace aging systems such as the radar guided Phalanx CIWS gatling gun, which fires 20mm shells out to a range of a mile or so.