Named after the late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, a highly decorated war veteran of WWII, Korean and Vietnam, and the 19th and youngest Chief of Naval Operations in U.S. Navy history, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer was under construction at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine. This estimated 14,000-ton ship has a stealthy low radar profile and has been designed for long-range surface attack and undersea warfare roles, next-generation air defense, and naval fire support roles. Artist renderings of the Zumwalt class destroyer look like a historic ironclad vessel, but with considerably more firepower. One of the key features of each Zumwalt destroyer are its two 155mm caliber Advance Gun System (AGS) gun mount assemblies capable of automatically firing up to 12 highly accurate guided munitions per minute with a maximum range of 100 nautical miles.
Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting was pleased to have been contracted to provide transportation of these Advance Gun System gun mount assemblies to Bath, ME for this important defense project. The first of the four AGS gun mount assemblies was built in Fridley, MN and was delivered to the West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Grounds located 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, UT for test firing. Once tested, the gun would return to Fridley, MN for final preparation for its delivery to Bath, ME. Three other identical systems were to be shipped from Louisville, KY to BIW as required by our client over the following few years.
For this project, Perkins selected a very stable 18' - 0" wide combination of its dual lane loading Goldhofer platform trailer that included a 29' - 6" long low-bed deck insert between two 4-line modules that perfectly accommodated the turret of gun mount assembly. With an overall length of 40' - 7" including the gun barrel that extended over the rear transporter module. Each gun mount assembly is 19' - 11" wide and 11' - 9" high and weighing 190,000 lbs. At only 140' - 8" long without a push tractor, this combination is more compact than a conventional 19-axle highway transporter, it is highly maneuverable with its hydraulic steering, and it completely eliminates torsional stress transfers from the road surface into the cargo unlike mechanical trailers.
Conventional securements involving high grade chains and ratchet binders were not an option for this project. Instead, Perkins allowed our client to install their highly machined shipping fixture to the low-bed deck insert upon where the gun mount assembly was installed as if it were mounted to the deck of the vessel. Once Perkins delivered the AGS gun mount assembly to UT, the low-bed was simply lowered to cribbing and disconnected from the rest of the modular transporter so that the client could unload it, perform its tests, and later remount the gun at its leisure for its return journey to Minnesota.