The smaller crew is made possible by advanced automated systems which "make it much easier and much more effective for the sailor to operate," says former Navy Capt. Wade Knudson, who now serves as Zumwalt program director for Pentagon contractor, Raytheon.
In the operations center -- which in many ways is the heart of the ship -- sailors are surrounded by an array of video displays that have been designed to be used by a generation raised on video games, Knudson
tested the technology configuration in the operation center with young, gamer sailors, Knudson
"We've brought them down to our labs and we got direct feedback from them using human-factor engineers in order to make sure that we've integrated all the displays and information in a way that they can use the systems most effectively."
The result, he
says, is less chance of making errors on the ship.
"The system and the computer provide information to the sailor in a way that they're used to."
Work stations inside the center are outfitted with three common displays, Knudson
The way all the ship's weapons, radar and other systems are displayed to users and the captain, Knudson
, "it really give them unprecedented situational awareness."
Currently undergoing sea testing, Knudson
says the Zumwalt
is expected to join the rest of the Navy fleet sometime in 2016.