NORFOLK, Va. -- The Navy's newest and sleekest-looking destroyer pulled into Naval Station Norfolk here this morning, making an historic first transit into the Chesapeake Bay and through the Hampton Roads waterways to the Norfolk Naval Base at about 9 am EST.

Built in Bath, Maine, the first of a three-ship class of stealthy warships, the Zumwalt is slated to be commissioned in Baltimore on Oct. 15 and will ultimately leave the East Coast for its homeport of San Diego, once officially in the fleet.

The Navy formally took possession of the ship in May and it left Bath last Wednesday, spending a few days in Newport, Rhode Island, before arriving in Norfolk today.

"She'll be here for a few weeks as she does some tests and prepares materially for commissioning next month in Baltimore," said Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, spokesman for Naval Surface Forces, Atlantic.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Faram/Staff

Vasquez said the Navy is planning some media events as well as educational events promoting science, math and technology among local high school students while the ship is here.

Originally planning a 30-ship class of warships, the Navy cut that to just three, all of which will showcase new technologies slated for future classes of ships. With crews of around 200, they are considered destroyers more on a scale of today's cruisers.

The ship has been under construction since 2008, when the contract for it was let by the Navy.

Its keel was laid in November 2011 and the ship was launched in October 2013.

The ship first went to sea last December and again in March, before passing acceptance trials in April.

Still, Zumwalt isn't actually completed as the combat systems and the arrays of radars, sensors and weapons that make it up will won't be completed until sometime in 2017.

Only after successfully completing its combat systems can the ship be slated for deployment and begin formal work-ups.

Defense News staff writer Christopher P. Cavas contributed to this report. 

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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