Stealth on the Navy's newest destroyers might be too good

Zumwalt-class ships could go to sea wearing safety reflectors.

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America's new Zumwalt-class destroyers have been built with strong stealth capabilities, however that feature has caused a few unforeseen issues, according to a new report from During sea trials last month, the Navy discovered that the ship's reduced radar signature was almost too effective and might require onboard radar reflectors when not in theater.

The 610-foot destroyer shows up as just 40 to 50 feet long on a radar screen. What's more, the Navy figures it can further improve that capability when it removes the testing equipment after the trial's end. This is great during warfare but less than ideal when the ship is navigating busy shipping channels or operating in inclement weather.

As such, the Navy has tested the use of onboard reflectors to improve its radar visibility. Of course, the Zumwalt itself is equipped with an advanced radar array of its own that can detect ships from miles out so the chances of a collision remains remote. Still, when it comes to protecting the Navy's new $22.5 billion vessels from errant fishing boats, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

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