• USS Zumwalt is the U.S. Navy's first in a class of three multi-mission guided missile destroyers
  • The warship is the largest and most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world
  • The Chinese Navy has comparable Type 055 guided-missile cruisers

Paving the way for what may be the eventual deployment of U.S. hypersonic missiles in the region, the U.S. Navy's most advanced stealth surface warship is now in the Western Pacific. Assigned to the Navy's largest destroyer squadron outside the country, the move is expected to grab Beijing's attention as it comes at a time when tensions in the region are simmering.

The USS Zumwalt — the U.S. Navy's first in a class of three multi-mission guided missile destroyers — made a port call in Guam and arrived in Japan on Monday, according to a report in CNN.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is a class of three U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers designed with the role of naval gunfire support and surface and anti-aircraft warfare.

The report said the warship has been assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 — the Navy's largest destroyer squadron based outside the U.S. — that operates out of Yokosuka Naval Base near Tokyo.

The USS Zumwalt is "the largest and most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world" and at 185 meters long, it is larger than any Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, according to the CNN report.

The Pentagon is also looking to upgrade the warship by adding the latest Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HCB) weapons system in the future. The weapons system fires missiles at hypersonic speed by the use of a booster rocket motor and is able to destroy targets by virtue of its velocity alone, the report added, quoting a memo published by the US Navy.

In comparison to USS Zumwalt, the Chinese Navy has Type 055 guided-missile cruisers considered second in power to the Zumwalt-class stealth ship.

With a displacement of 15,995 metric tons, Zumwalt is considered to be the largest destroyer in the world in comparison China's Type 055 is slightly lighter at 12,000 to 13,000 metric tons. Whereas the USS Zumwalt is armed with 80 vertical launch cells for missiles that can strike land and sea targets as well as anti-submarine rockets, Type 055 has 112 launch cells capable of the same tasks.

In April, the PLA Navy released footage of a test launch of a hypersonic ballistic missile launched from its Type 055 Class destroyer. Compared to the U.S. Navy, which has only three warships in the Zumwalt class, the PLA Navy has six Type 055s in active service and more are expected soon, as Beijing seeks to expand the class to a fleet of 16 ships, in a move that will enable the PLA naval fleet to overtake the US to become the world's largest.

The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) departs Bath, Maine to conduct acceptance trials, April 20, 2016. Reuters