Zumwalt-class destroyer

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is a class of United States Navy guided missile destroyers designed as multi-mission stealth ships with a focus on land attack. It is a multi-role class that was designed for secondary roles of surface warfare and anti-aircraft warfare and originally designed with a primary role of naval gunfire support. It was intended to take the place of battleships in meeting a congressional mandate for naval fire support.[11] The ship is designed around its two Advanced Gun Systems, their turrets and magazines, and unique Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) ammunition.[9] LRLAP procurement was cancelled, rendering the guns unusable,[9] so the Navy re-purposed the ships for surface warfare.[12] A National Review article by Mike Fredenburg calls the Zumwalts "an unmitigated disaster".[13] The class design emerged from the DD-21 "land attack destroyer" program as "DD(X)".

These ships are classed as destroyers, but they are much larger than any other active destroyer or cruiser.[14] The vessels' distinctive appearance results from the design requirement for a low radar cross-section (RCS). The Zumwalt-class has a wave-piercing tumblehome hull form whose sides slope inward above the waterline, which dramatically reduces RCS by returning much less energy than a conventional flare hull form. The appearance has been compared to that of the historic USS Monitor[15] and her famous antagonist CSS Virginia.[16][14]

The class has an integrated power system that can send electricity from its turbo-generators to the electric drive motors or weapons, the Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI),[17] automated fire-fighting systems, and automated piping rupture isolation.[18] The class is designed to require a smaller crew and to be less expensive to operate than comparable warships.

The lead ship is named Zumwalt for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and carries the hull number DDG-1000. Originally, 32 ships were planned, with $9.6 billion research and development costs spread across the class. As costs overran estimates, the quantity was reduced to 24, then to 7, and finally to 3, significantly increasing the cost per ship to $4.24 billion (excluding R&D costs)[1][19][20][2] and well exceeding the per-unit cost of a nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarine ($2.688 billion).[21][22] The dramatic per-unit cost increases eventually triggered a Nunn–McCurdy Amendment breach and cancellation of further production.[23][24] In April 2016, the total program cost was $22.5 billion, with an average cost of $7.5 billion per ship.[2]

Zumwalt class
Future USS Zumwalt's first underway at sea
USS Zumwalt undergoing sea trials in December 2015
Class overview
Builders: Bath Iron Works
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Arleigh Burke class
Succeeded by: Arleigh Burke class Flight III
  • $22.5 billion program cost (FY15)[1]
  • $4.24B per unit (excl R&D) as of 2016[2]
In commission: 15 October 2016[3]
Planned: 32
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 29
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: Guided missile destroyer
Displacement: 15,742 long tons (15,995 t)[4]
Length: 610 ft (190 m)[4]
Beam: 80.7 ft (24.6 m)
Draft: 27.6 ft (8.4 m)
  • 2 × Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines (35.4 MW (47,500 hp) each)[5] driving Curtiss-Wright electric generators[6]
  • 2 × Rolls-Royce RR4500 turbine generators (3.8 MW (5,100 hp) each)[5]
  • 2 × propellers driven by electric motors
  • Total: 78 MW (105,000 shp)[5]
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)[4]
Troops: U.S. Marines
Complement: 147 +28 in air detachment[4]
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) (X band active electronically scanned array)[7]
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for up to two medium-lift helicopters


Background and funding

Many of the features were developed under the DD-21 program ("21st Century Destroyer"), which was originally designed around the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). In 2001, Congress cut the DD-21 program by half as part of the SC21 program; to save it, the acquisition program was renamed as DD(X) and heavily reworked.

Originally, the Navy had hoped to build 32 destroyers. That number was reduced to 24, then to 7, due to the high cost of new and experimental technologies.[19] On 23 November 2005, the Defense Acquisition Board approved a plan for simultaneous construction of the first two ships at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi and General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. However, at that date, funding had yet to be authorized by Congress.

In late December 2005, the House and Senate agreed to continue funding the program. The U.S. House of Representatives allotted the Navy only enough money to begin construction on one destroyer, as a "technology demonstrator". The initial funding allocation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007.[19] However, this was increased to two ships by the 2007 appropriations bill[25] approved in September 2006, which allotted US$2.568 billion to the DDG-1000 program.[26]

On 31 July 2008, U.S. Navy acquisition officials told Congress that the service needed to purchase more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and no longer needed the next-generation DDG-1000 class,[27] Only the two approved destroyers would be built. The Navy said the world threat picture had changed in such a way that it now makes more sense to build at least eight more Burkes, rather than DDG-1000s.[27] The Navy concluded from fifteen classified intelligence reports that the DDG-1000s would be vulnerable to forms of missile attacks.[28] Many Congressional subcommittee members questioned that the Navy completed such a sweeping re-evaluation of the world threat picture in just a few weeks, after spending some 13 years and $10 billion on the development of the surface ship program known as DD-21, then DD(X), and finally DDG-1000.[27] Subsequently, Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead cited the need to provide area air defense and specific new threats such as ballistic missiles and the possession of anti-ship missiles by groups such as Hezbollah.[29] The mooted structural problems have not been discussed in public. Navy Secretary Donald Winter said on 4 September that "Making certain that we have – I'll just say, a destroyer – in the '09 budget is more important than whether that’s a DDG 1000 or a DDG 51".[30]

On 19 August 2008, Secretary Winter was reported as saying that a third Zumwalt would be built at Bath Iron Works, citing concerns about maintaining shipbuilding capacity.[31] House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha said on 23 September 2008 that he had agreed to partial funding of the third DDG-1000 in the 2009 Defense authorization bill.[32]

A 26 January 2009 memo from John Young, the US Department of Defense's (DoD) top acquisition official, stated that the per ship price for the Zumwalt-class destroyers had reached $5.964 billion, 81 percent over the Navy's original estimate used in proposing the program, resulting in a breach of the Nunn–McCurdy Amendment, requiring the Navy to re-certify and re-justify the program to Congress or to cancel its production.[33]

On 6 April 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that DoD's proposed 2010 budget will end the DDG-1000 program at a maximum of three ships.[34] Also in April, the Pentagon awarded a fixed-price contract with General Dynamics to build the three destroyers, replacing a cost-plus-fee contract that had been awarded to Northrop Grumman. At that time, the first DDG-1000 destroyer was expected to cost $3.5 billion, the second approximately $2.5 billion, and the third even less.[35]

What had once been seen as the backbone of the Navy's future surface fleet[36] with a planned production run of 32, has since been replaced by destroyer production reverting to the Arleigh Burke-class after ordering three Zumwalts.[37] In April 2016, the U.S. Naval Institute stated the total cost of the three Zumwalt ships is about $22.5 billion with research and development costs, which is an average of $7.5 billion per ship.[2]


US Navy 080214-N-0923G-001 Susan Tomaiko, left, and Brian Cuccias, vice president and DDG 1000 program manager for Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding, sign the $1.4 billion construction contract for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destro
Representatives from Naval Sea Systems Command and Bath Iron Works sign a construction contract at the Pentagon, February 2008.

In late 2005, the program entered the detailed design and integration phase, for which Raytheon was the Mission Systems Integrator. Both Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shared dual-lead for the hull, mechanical, and electrical detailed design. BAE Systems Inc. had the advanced gun system and the MK57 VLS. Almost every major defense contractor (including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine, L-3 Communications) and subcontractors from nearly every state in the U.S. were involved to some extent in this project, which was the largest single line item in the Navy's budget. During the previous contract, development and testing of 11 Engineering Development Models (EDMs) took place: Advanced Gun System, Autonomic Fire Suppression System, Dual Band Radar [X-band and L-band], Infrared, Integrated Deckhouse & Apertures, Integrated Power System, Integrated Undersea Warfare, Peripheral Vertical Launch System, Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI), Tumblehome Hull Form. The decision in September 2006 to fund two ships meant that one could be built by the Bath Iron Works in Maine and one by Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi.[25]

Northrop Grumman was awarded a $90M contract modification for materials and production planning on 13 November 2007.[38] On 14 February 2008, Bath Iron Works was awarded a contract for the construction of Zumwalt (DDG-1000), and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding was awarded a contract for the construction of Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), at a cost of $1.4 billion each.[39]

The boathouse of USS Zumwalt is moved into position. (8291331134)
Deckhouse of USS Zumwalt being installed in December 2012

On 11 February 2009, full-rate production officially began on the first Zumwalt-class destroyer.[40] Construction on the second ship of the class, Michael Monsoor, began in March 2010.[41] The keel for the first Zumwalt-class destroyer was laid on 17 November 2011.[41] This first vessel was launched from the shipyard at Bath, Maine on 29 October 2013.[42]

The construction timetable in July 2008 was:[43]

  • October 2008: DDG-1000 starts construction at Bath Iron Works[44][45][46]
  • September 2009: DDG-1001 starts construction at Bath Iron Works.[47]
  • April 2012: DDG-1002 starts construction at Bath Iron Works[48]
  • April 2013: DDG-1000 initial delivery
  • May 2014: DDG-1001 delivery
  • March 2015: Initial operating capability
  • Fiscal 2018: DDG-1002 delivery

The Navy planned for Zumwalt to reach initial operating capability (IOC) in 2016. The second ship, Michael Monsoor, was commissioned in 2019, and the third ship, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), is to reach IOC in 2021.[49]

Ships in class

In April 2006, the Navy announced plans to name the first ship of the class Zumwalt after former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr.[43] The vessel's hull number would be DDG-1000, which abandoned the guided missile destroyer sequence used by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51–), and continued the previous "gun destroyer" sequence from the last of the Spruance class, Hayler (DD-997).

DDG-1001 would be named for Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, the second Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror, the navy announced on 29 October 2008.[50]

On 16 April 2012, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that DDG-1002 would be named for former naval officer and U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson.[51]

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Zumwalt DDG-1000 17 November 2011 28 October 2013 15 October 2016 Active
Michael Monsoor DDG-1001 23 May 2013 21 June 2016 26 January 2019[52] Active
Lyndon B. Johnson DDG-1002 30 January 2017 9 December 2018[53] Estimated 2019[54] Fitting out


Features of the DDG-1000

As of January 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that four out of 12 of the critical technologies in the ship's design were fully mature. Six of the critical technologies were "approaching maturity", but five of those would not be fully mature until after installation.[55]


Despite being 40% larger than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the radar cross-section (RCS) is more akin to that of a fishing boat, according to a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command.[56] The tumblehome hull and composite deckhouse reduce radar return. Overall, the destroyer's angular build makes it "50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer."[56]

Zumwalt Deckplate Transit
Zumwalt's deckhouse in transit in November 2012

The acoustic signature is comparable to that of the Los Angeles-class submarines. Water sleeting along the sides, along with passive cool air induction in the mack reduces infrared signature.

The composite deckhouse encloses much of the sensors and electronics.[57] In 2008, Defense News reported there had been problems sealing the composite construction panels of this area; Northrop Grumman denied this.[58]

The U.S. Navy solicited bids for a lower cost steel deckhouse as an option for DDG-1002, the last Zumwalt destroyer, in January 2013.[59][60][61] On 2 August 2013, the US Navy announced it was awarding a $212 million contract to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to build a steel deckhouse for destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002).[61] The U.S. Naval Institute stated "the original design of the ship would have had a much smaller RCS, but cost considerations prompted the Navy over the last several years to make the trades in increasing RCS to save money..."[62]

To improve detection in non-combat situations by other vessels, such as traversing busy shipping channels or operating in inclement weather, the Navy is testing adding onboard reflectors to improve the design's radar visibility.[63]

The usefulness of the stealth features has been questioned. The class's role was to provide NSFS, which requires the ship to be in typically crowded near-shore waters, where such large and distinctive ships can be tracked visually, and any surface ship becomes non-stealthy when it begins firing guns or missiles.[13]

Tumblehome wave piercing hull

The Zumwalt-class destroyer reintroduces the tumblehome hull form, a hull form not seen to this extent since the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. It was originally put forth in modern steel battleship designs by the French shipyard Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée in La Seyne, Toulon. French naval architects believed that tumblehome, in which the beam of the vessel narrowed from the waterline to the upper deck, would create better freeboard, greater seaworthiness, and, as Russian battleships were to find, would be ideal for navigating through narrow constraints (e.g. canals).[64] On the downside, the tumblehome battleships leaked - partly due to their riveted construction - and could be unstable, especially when turning at high speed.[65] The tumblehome has been reintroduced in the 21st century to reduce the radar return of the hull. The inverted bow is designed to cut through waves rather than ride over them.[66][67] The stability of this hull form in high sea states has caused debate among naval architects, with some charging that "with the waves coming at you from behind, when a ship pitches down, it can lose transverse stability as the stern comes out of the water—and basically roll over."[68]

Advanced Gun System

The Advanced Gun System is a 155 mm naval gun, two of which are installed in each ship. This system consists of an advanced 155 mm gun and its Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP).[69] This projectile is a rocket with a warhead fired from the AGS gun; the warhead has an 11 kg / 24 lb bursting charge and has a circular error probable of 50 meters. This weapon system has a range of 83 nautical miles (154 km);[Note 1][56] the fully automated storage system has room for up to 750 rounds.[66][69] The barrel is water-cooled to prevent overheating and allows a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute per gun. Using a Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) firing tactic the combined firepower from a pair of turrets gives each Zumwalt-class destroyer initial strike firepower equivalent to 12 conventional M198 field guns.[70][71] To provide sufficient stability to fire these guns, the Zumwalts use ballast tanks to lower themselves into the water.[72] In November 2016, the Navy moved to cancel procurement of the LRLAP, citing per-shell cost increases to $800,000–$1 million resulting from trimming of total ship numbers of the class. The Navy is monitoring research on alternative munitions, but since the AGS was tailor-made to use the LRLAP, modifications will be needed to accept different shells, which is unlikely to happen by the time the first Zumwalt vessel enters operational service in 2018, leaving it unable to fulfill the naval gunfire support role it was designed for.[73][74][75]

Lyndon B. Johnson, the last Zumwalt, is being considered for the installation of a railgun in place of one of the 155 mm naval guns after the ship is built. This is feasible because the installed Rolls-Royce turbine generators are capable of producing 78 megawatts (105,000 hp), enough for the electrically-powered weapon.[76][77]

Peripheral Vertical Launch System

The Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS) is an attempt to avoid intrusion into the prized center space of the hull while reducing the risk of loss of the entire missile battery or of the ship in a magazine explosion. The system consists of pods of VLS cells distributed around the outer shell of the ship, with a thin steel outer shell and a thick inner shell. The design of the PVLS directs the force of any explosion outward rather than into the ship. Additionally, this design reduces the loss of missile capacity to the affected pod only.[66][78]

Aircraft and boat features

Two spots are available on a large aviation deck with a hangar capable of housing two full size SH-60 helicopters.[79] Boats are handled within a stern mounted boat hangar with ramp. The boat hangar's stern location meets high sea state requirements for boat operations.[66]


Diagram of AN/SPY-3 vertical electronic pencil beam radar conex projections

Originally, the AN/SPY-3 active electronically scanned array primarily X band radar was to be married with Lockheed Martin's AN/SPY-4 S band volume search radar. Raytheon's X-band, active-array SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) offers superior medium to high altitude performance over other radar bands, and its pencil beams give it an excellent ability to focus in on targets. SPY-3 will be the primary radar used for missile engagements.[80] A 2005 report by Congress' investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), questioned that the technology leap for the Dual Band Radar would be too much.[6]

On 2 June 2010, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter announced that they will be removing the SPY-4 S-band Volume Search Radar from the DDG-1000's dual-band radar to reduce costs as part of the Nunn–McCurdy certification process.[37] Due to the SPY-4 removal, the SPY-3 radar is to have software modifications so as to perform a volume search functionality. Shipboard operators will be able to optimize the SPY-3 for either horizon search or volume search. While optimized for volume search, the horizon search capability is limited. The DDG-1000 is still expected to perform local area air defense.[37][81] This system is thought to provide high detection and excellent anti-jamming capabilities, particularly when used in conjunction with the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). It is, however, not reported if the CEC system will be installed on the Zumwalt-class destroyers upon commissioning, but it is scheduled for eventual incorporation in the ship type.[82][83]

In that the Zumwalt class has no AN/SPG-62 fire-control radars that are used for terminal guidance for Standard and Evolved Sea-Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) anti-aircraft engagements, the SPY-3 will generate Interrupted Continuous Wave Illumination (ICWI) rather than the Continuous Wave Illumination of the AN/SPG-62 fire-control radars. Significant software modifications are required to support the ICWI, transmit and receive link messages to the missiles. Standard Missile (SM)-2 IIIA and the ESSM slated for Zumwalt class require modified missile receivers, transmitters, encoders, decoders and a redesigned digital signal processor to work with the ship's system. These modified missiles will not be able to be used on Aegis class ships.[84]

The SPY 3 had to be reprogrammed to do the volume search that the SPY-4 was supposed to have performed. With the duties of volume and surface search and terminal illumination there is concern that a large scale missile attack could overwhelm a radar's resource management capacity. In such a case the radar may be unable to properly manage incoming threats or guide offensive missiles.[84]

The Dual Band Radar in its entirety (SPY-3 & SPY-4) is to be installed only on the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. With the development of the AMDR (Air and Missile Defense Radar), it seems unlikely the DBR is to be installed on any other platforms, as it is on the DDG-1000 class, or in total, as it is on Gerald R. Ford. The Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) is a new design surveillance radar that is to be installed in the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy, in lieu of the Dual Band radar. The America-class amphibious assault ships starting with LHA-8 and the planned LX(R)-class amphibious warfare ships will also have this radar.[85]

AMDR (Air and Missile Defense Radar) was originally proposed to be installed in the hull of DDG-1000 type under the CG(X) program. However, due to cost growth, the CG(X) program was canceled. The AMDR has continued in fully funded development for installation on the DDG-51 Flight III ships. However, a smaller than optimally planned aperture of 14 feet (4.3 m), the AMDR for the Flight III ships is to be less sensitive than the 22 feet (6.7 m) variant that had been planned for CG(X).

A study to place the AMDR on a DDG-1000 hull was done with the 22-foot (6.7 m) aperture primarily for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) purposes. In that the DDG-1000 does not have an Aegis combat system, as does the DDG-51 class ships, but rather the Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI), the Radar/Hull Study stated:

... that developing a BMD capability "from scratch" for TSCE was not considered viable enough by the study team to warrant further analysis, particularly because of the investment already made in the Aegis program. The navy concluded that developing IAMD software and hardware specifically for TSCE would be more expensive and present higher risk. Ultimately, the navy determined that Aegis was its preferred combat system option. Navy officials stated that Aegis had proven some BMD capability and was widely used across the fleet, and that the navy wanted to leverage the investments it had made over the years in this combat system, especially in its current development of a version that provides a new, limited IAMD capability.[86]

Common Display System

The ship's Common Display System is nicknamed "keds": Sailors operate keds via trackballs and specialized button panels, with the option to the interface by using touchscreens. The technology array allows sailors to monitor multiple weapons systems or sensors, saving manpower, and allowing it to be steered from the ops center.[56]


A dual-band sonar controlled by a highly automated computer system will be used to detect mines and submarines. It is claimed that it is superior to the Burke's sonar in littoral ASW, but less effective in blue water/deep sea areas.[87]

  • Hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-60)
  • Hull-mounted high-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-61)
  • Multi-function towed array sonar and handling system (AN/SQR-20)[88]

Although Zumwalt ships have an integrated suite of undersea sensors and a multi-function towed array, they are not equipped with onboard torpedo tubes, so they rely on their helicopters or ASROC missiles to destroy submarines that the sonar picks up.[72]

Propulsion and power system

The DDX proposed to use a permanent-magnet motor (PMM) within the hull. An alternate twin pod arrangement was rejected as the ramifications of pod drives would require too much development and validation cost to the vessel. The PMM is considered to be another technology leap and is the cause of some concern (along with the radar system) from Congress.[66] As part of the design phase, Northrop Grumman had the world's largest permanent magnet motor, designed and fabricated by DRS Technologies.[89] This proposal was dropped when the PMM motor failed to demonstrate that it was ready to be installed in time.

Zumwalt will have Converteam's Advanced Induction Motors (AIM), rather than DRS Technologies' Permanent Magnet-Synchronous Motors (PMM).

The exact choice of engine systems remains somewhat controversial at this point. The concept was originally for an integrated power system (IPS) based on in-hull permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMMs), with Advanced Induction Motors (AIM) as a possible backup solution. The design was shifted to the AIM system in February 2005 in order to meet scheduled milestones; PMM technical issues were subsequently fixed, but the program has moved on. The downside is that AIM technology has a heavier motor, requires more space, requires a "separate controller" to be developed to meet noise requirements, and produces one-third the amount of voltage. On the other hand, these very differences will force time and cost penalties from design and construction changes if the program wishes to "design AIM out" …[90]

The Integrated Power System (IPS) is, in some ways, similar to the old turbo-electric drive, the addition of PMMs and integration of all electrical power systems gives ten times the power available on current destroyers. It also reduces the ship's thermal and sound signature. The IPS has added to weight growth in the Zumwalt-class destroyer as noted by the GAO.[6]

Electric power for the motors is provided by two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines (35.4 MW ea.)[5] driving Curtiss-Wright electric generators.[6]

The second ship of the class, Michael Monsoor, will require a new engine after she experienced problems during sea trials resulting in damaged turbine blades.[91]

Automation and fire protection

Automation reduces crew size on these ships: the Zumwalt-class destroyer's minimum complement is 130, less than half of needed by "similar warships",[56] Smaller crews reduce a major component of operating costs.[66] Ammunition, food, and other stores are all mounted in containers able to be struck below to magazine/storage areas by an automated cargo handling system.[66]

Water spray or mist systems are proposed for deployment in the Zumwalt-class destroyer, but the electronic spaces remain problematic to the designers. Halon/Nitrogen dump systems are preferred but do not work when space has been compromised by a hull breach. The GAO has noted this system as a potential problem yet to be addressed.[66][92]

Computer network

The Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI) is based on General Electric Fanuc Embedded Systems' PPC7A and PPC7D single-board computers[93] running LynuxWorks' LynxOS RTOS.[94] These are contained in 16 shock, vibration, and electromagnetic protected Electronic Modular Enclosures.[95] Zumwalt carries 16 pre-assembled IBM blade servers.[96] The network allows a seamless integration of all on-board systems, e.g. sensor fusion, easing operation and mission planning.[97]


Lawmakers and others have questioned whether the Zumwalt-class costs too much and whether it provides the capabilities that the military needs. In 2005, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the acquisition cost of a DD(X) at $3.8 billion to $4 billion in 2007 dollars, $1.1 billion more than the navy's estimate.[98] The National Defense Authorization Act For the Fiscal Year 2007 (Report of the Committee On Armed Services House of Representatives On H.R. 5122 Together With Additional And Dissenting Views) stated:

The committee understands there is no prospect of being able to design and build the two lead ships for the $6.6 billion budgeted. The committee is concerned that the navy is attempting to insert too much capability into a single platform. As a result, the DD(X) is now expected to displace more than 14,000 tons and by the navy's estimate, cost almost $3.3 billion each. Originally, the navy proposed building 32 next-generation destroyers, reduced that to 24, then to 7, and finally to 3, in order to make the program affordable. In such small numbers, the committee struggles to see how the original requirements for the next generation destroyer, for example providing naval surface fire support, can be met.[99]

Mike Fredenburg analyzed the program for National Review after Zumwalt broke down in the Panama Canal in November 2016, and he concluded that the ship's problems "are emblematic of a defense procurement system that is rapidly losing its ability to meet our national security needs."[13] Fredenburg went on to detail problems relating to the skyrocketing costs, lack of accountability, unrealistic goals, a flawed concept of operations, the perils of designing a warship around stealth, and the failure of the Advanced Gun System. He concludes:

The Zumwalt is an unmitigated disaster. Clearly it is not a good fit as a frontline warship. With its guns neutered, its role as a primary anti-submarine-warfare asset in question, its anti-air-warfare capabilities inferior to those of our current workhorse, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and its stealth not nearly as advantageous as advertised, the Zumwalt seems to be a ship without a mission.[13]

Ballistic missile/air defense capability

In January 2005, John Young, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, was so confident of the DD(X)'s improved air defense over the Burke class that between its new radar and ability to fire SM-1, SM-2, and SM-6, "I don't see as much urgency for [moving to] CG(X)" – a dedicated air defense cruiser.[100]

On 31 July 2008, Vice Admiral Barry McCullough (Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Resources and Capabilities) and Allison Stiller (Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Ship Programs) stated that "the DDG 1000 cannot perform area air defense; specifically, it cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6 and is incapable of conducting Ballistic Missile Defense."[87] Dan Smith, president of Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems division, has countered that the radar and combat system are essentially the same as other SM-2-capable ships, "I can’t answer the question as to why the Navy is now asserting … that Zumwalt is not equipped with an SM-2 capability".[30] The lack of anti-ballistic missile capability may represent a lack of compatibility with SM-2/SM-3. The Arleigh Burke-class ships have BMD systems with their Lockheed-Martin AEGIS tracking and targeting software,[101] unlike the DDG-1000's Raytheon TSCE-I targeting and tracking software,[93] which does not, as it is not yet complete, so while the DDG-1000, with its TSCE-I combat system, does have the SM-2/SM-3 missile system installed, it does not yet have the BMD/IAMD upgrade planned for the derived CG(X).[37] The Aegis system, on the other hand was used in the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. Since the Aegis system has been the navy's chief combat system for the past 30 years when the navy started a BMD program, the combat system it was tested on was the Aegis combat system. So while the DDG-51 platform and the DDG-1000 platform are both SM-2/SM-3 capable, as a legacy of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System only the DDG-51 with the Aegis combat system is BMD capable, although the DDG-1000's TSCE-I combat system had both BMD and IAMD upgrades planned. And in view of recent intelligence that China is developing targetable anti-ship ballistic missiles based on the DF-21,[102][103] this could be a fatal flaw.

On 22 February 2009 James "Ace" Lyons, the former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, stated that the DDG-1000's technology was essential to a future "boost phase anti-ballistic missile intercept capability".[104]

In 2010, the Congressional Research Service reported that the DDG-1000 cannot currently be used for BMD because the BMD role was deferred to the DDG-1000 derived CG(X) program (the DDG's had the strike role, the CG had the BMD role, but they shared both the SM3 missile, and the TSCE-I), the proposed radar of the CG(X) was much larger (22')[105] and used much more energy and cooling capacity than the DDG-1000's.[37] Since then, the 22-foot (6.7 m) radar system has been canceled with the CG(X) and it has been determined that a 14-foot (4.3 m) radar could be used either on DDG-51 or on DDG-1000, though it would not have the performance the navy predicts would be needed "to address the most challenging threats".[105] Were the CG(X)'s BMD requirement adopted by the DDG-1000, the DDG-1000 would have to get the TSCE-I upgrade slated for the CG(X) to support that mission.[106]

The study that showed a cost benefit to building Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with enhanced radars instead of adding BMD to the Zumwalt-class destroyers assumed very limited changes from the Flight II to the Flight III Burkes. However, costs for the Flight III Burkes have increased rapidly "as the possible requirements and expectations continue to grow."[107] While the Flight III design and costs have been studied by the navy, there is very little reliable data available on what the cost would be to modify a DDG-1000–class ship to provide a BMD capability. However, if the Air Missile Defense Radar is adopted in common on both the Flight III Burkes and the Zumwalts and if they were both upgraded to the same combat system then the only limitation of the Zumwalts in this role would be their limited missile magazines.[108]

With the awarding of the development contract to the next generation Air and Missile Defense S-Band Radar to Raytheon, deliberation to put in place this radar on the Zumwalt-class destroyer is no longer being actively discussed.[109]

It is possible for the Zumwalt-class destroyers to get the more limited BMD hardware and software modifications that would allow them using their existing SPY-3 radar and Cooperative Engagement Capability to utilize the SM-3 missile and have a BMD capability similar to the BMD-capable Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Burke-class Flight IIa destroyers. Procurement of a BMD specific version of the Zumwalt-class destroyer was also proposed.[37][110]

Zumwalt PLAS cells can launch the SM-2 Standard missile, but the ships have no requirement for ballistic missile defense. The tubes are long and wide enough to incorporate future interceptors, and although the ships' immediate role is littoral dominance and land attack, Raytheon contends that they could become BMD-capable with few modifications.[72]

Missile capacity

The original DD-21 design would have accommodated between 117 and 128 Vertical launching system cells.[111] However, the final DDG-1000 design provides only 80 cells.[112] Zumwalt uses MK.57 cells which are larger than the Mk.41 cells found on most American destroyers.

Each VLS cell can be quad packed with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). This gives a maximum theoretical load of 320 ESSM missiles. The ESSM is considered a point defense weapon not generally used for fleet area defense.

Vice Admiral Barry McCullough On 31 July 2008 (deputy chief of naval operations for integration of resources and capabilities) and Allison Stiller, deputy assistant secretary of the navy for ship programs stated that "the DDG 1000 cannot perform area air defense; specifically, it cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6. It is not clear if the Standard Missile capability will be integrated into the Zumwalt-class destroyer or not.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is not an Aegis system. It uses instead the class-unique Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI) integrated mission system. The peripheral vertical launch system (PVLS) VLS is capable of accommodating all Standard missile types.[113] It has not been publicly stated if the TSCE will be modified to support the Standard missile or the ballistic missile defense mission.

Naval fire support role

The design concept for the Zumwalt-class developed from the "Land Attack Destroyer (DD 21)" development effort. A primary goal for DD 21 was to provide sea-based fire support for on-shore troops, as part of the force mix that would replace the retiring Iowa-class battleships as mandated by Congress. There was considerable skepticism that the Zumwalt-class could succeed in this role.

In summary, the committee is concerned that the navy has foregone the long range fire support capability of the battleship, has given little cause for optimism with regard to meeting near-term developmental objectives, and appears unrealistic in planning to support expeditionary warfare in the mid-term. The committee views the navy's strategy for providing naval surface fire support as 'high risk', and will continue to monitor progress accordingly.

— Evaluation of the United States Navy's naval surface fire support program in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, [114]

The Zumwalt-class was intended to provide naval surface fire support (NSFS) using the AGS and additional land attack using Tomahawk missiles from its PVLS launchers. As deployed, the Zumwalt-class cannot provide NSFS, since there is no ammunition available that is compatible with the AGS. The Zumwalt-class was re-purposed as surface attack vessels and are no longer intended for use as land attack destroyers.

Tumblehome design stability

US Navy 050823-N-7676W-052 The Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD), Sea Jet, funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is a 133-foot vessel located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division
Sea Jet out of the water and showing the unique hull design

The stability of the DDG-1000 hull design in heavy seas has been a matter of controversy. In April 2007, naval architect Ken Brower said, "As a ship pitches and heaves at sea, if you have tumblehome instead of a flare, you have no righting energy to make the ship come back up. On the DDG 1000, with the waves coming at you from behind, when a ship pitches down, it can lose transverse stability as the stern comes out of the water – and basically, roll over."[115] The Navy decided not to use a tumblehome hull in the CG(X) cruiser before the program was canceled, which may suggest that there were concerns regarding Zumwalt's sea-keeping abilities.[103] However, the tumblehome hull proved seaworthy in a 1/4-scale test of the hull design named Sea Jet.[116]

The Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD) Sea Jet funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is a 133-foot (40-meter) vessel located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview, Idaho. Sea Jet was operated on Lake Pend Oreille, where it was used for test and demonstration of various technologies. Among the first technologies tested was an underwater discharge waterjet from Rolls-Royce Naval Marine, Inc. called AWJ-21.

Secondary guns

In 2005, a Critical Design Review (CDR) of the DDG-1000 led to the selection of the Mk 110 57 mm (2.2 in) cannon to defend the destroyer against swarming attacks by small fast boats; the Mk 110 has a rate of fire of 220 rpm and a range of 9 nmi (17 km; 10 mi). From then to 2010, various analysis efforts were conducted to assess potential cost-saving alternatives. Following a 2012 assessment using the latest gun and munition effectiveness information, it was concluded that the Mk 46 30 mm (1.2 in) Gun System was more effective than the Mk 110 with increased capability, reduced weight, and significant cost avoidance. The Mk 46 has a rate of fire of 200 rpm and a range of 2.17 nmi (4.02 km; 2.50 mi).[10]

Naval experts have questioned the decision to replace the close-in swarm defense guns of the Zumwalt-class destroyers with ones of decreased size and range. The 57 mm can engage targets at two to three miles, while the 30 mm can only start to engage at around one mile, inside the range of a rocket-propelled grenade fired from a small boat. However, the DDG-1000 program manager said that the 57 mm round's lethality was "significantly over-modeled" and "not as effective as modeled" in live test-firing, and "nowhere near meeting the requirements"; he admitted that the results were not what he expected to see. When the Naval Weapons Laboratory re-evaluated the Mk 46, it met or exceeded requirements and performed equal to or better than the 57 mm in multiple areas, even coming just ahead of the 76 mm (3 in) naval cannon. A 30 mm gun mount also weighs less, around 2 tons compared to 12–14 tons for the 57 mm, but the navy is adamant that weight had nothing to do with the decision.[117]

See also


  1. ^ The AGS "can fire rocket-powered, computer-guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles (101 km) away,... three times farther than ordinary destroyer guns can fire."



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  • Army Regulations 600-8-27 dated 2006
  • Forczyk, Robert (2009). Russian Battleship vs Japanese Battleship, Yellow Sea 1904–05. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-330-8.

Further reading

External links

Advanced Gun System

The Advanced Gun System (AGS) is a naval artillery system developed and produced by BAE Systems Armaments Systems for the Zumwalt-class destroyer of the United States Navy. Designated the 155 mm/62 (6.1") Mark 51 Advanced Gun System (AGS), it was designed to provide long range naval gunfire support against shore-based targets. A total of six of the systems have been installed, two on each of the three Zumwalt-class ships. The Navy has no plans for additional Zumwalt-class ships, and no plans to deploy AGS on any other ship. AGS can only use ammunition designed specifically for the system. Only one ammunition type was designed, and the Navy halted its procurement in November 2016 due to cost ($800,000 to $1 million per round), so the AGS has no ammunition and cannot be used.


A boondoggle is a project that is considered a waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy or political motivations.


The CG(X) program, also known as the Next Generation Cruiser program, was a United States Navy research program to develop a replacement vessel for its 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers. Original plans were for 18–19 ships, based on the 14,500 ton Zumwalt-class destroyer with additional ballistic missile defense and area air defense for a carrier group. These vessels were to enter service beginning in 2017. The program was ended in 2010 with the intention of instead achieving the desired result with a successor to the Flight III Arleigh Burke–class destroyers.

Combined diesel-electric and gas

Combined diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG) is a modification of the combined diesel and gas propulsion system for ships. A variant, called the combined diesel-electric or gas (CODLOG) system, contains the same basic elements but will not allow simultaneous use of the alternative drive sources.A CODLAG system employs electric motors which are connected to the propeller shafts (usually 2). The motors are powered by diesel generators. For higher speeds, a gas turbine powers the shafts via a cross-connecting gearbox; for cruise speed, the drive train of the turbine is disengaged with clutches.

This arrangement combines the diesel engines used for propulsion and for electric power generation, greatly reducing service cost, since it reduces the number of different diesel engines and electric motors, requiring considerably less maintenance. Also, electric motors work efficiently over a wide range of revolutions and can be connected directly to the propeller shaft so that simpler gearboxes can be used to combine the mechanical output of turbine and diesel-electric systems.

Another advantage of the diesel-electric transmission is that without the need of a mechanical connection, the diesel generators can be decoupled acoustically from the hull of the ship, making it less noisy. This has been used extensively by military submarines but surface naval vessels like anti-submarine vessels will benefit as well.

Combustion light-gas gun

A combustion light-gas gun (CLGG) is a projectile weapon that utilizes the explosive force of low molecular-weight combustible gases, such as hydrogen mixed with oxygen, as propellant. When the gases are ignited, they burn, expand and propel the projectile out of the barrel with higher efficiency relative to solid propellant and have achieved higher muzzle velocities in experiments. Combustion light-gas gun technology is one of the areas being explored in an attempt to achieve higher velocities from artillery to gain greater range. Conventional guns use solid propellants, usually nitrocellulose-based compounds, to develop the chamber pressures needed to accelerate the projectiles. CLGGs' gaseous propellants are able to increase the propellant's specific impulse. Therefore, hydrogen is typically the first choice; however, other propellants like methane can be used.

While this technology does appear to provide higher velocities, the main drawback with gaseous or liquid propellants for gun systems is the difficulty in getting uniform and predictable ignition and muzzle velocities. Variance with muzzle velocities affects precision in range, and the further a weapon shoots, the more significant these variances become. If an artillery system cannot maintain uniform and predictable muzzle velocities it will be of no use at longer ranges. Another issue is the survival of projectile payloads at higher accelerations. Fuzes, explosive fill, and guidance systems all must be "hardened" against the significant acceleration loads of conventional artillery to survive and function properly. Higher velocity weapons, like the CLGG, face these engineering challenges as they edge the boundaries of firing accelerations higher.

The research and development firm UTRON, Inc is experimenting with a combustion light-gas gun design for field use. The corporation claims to have a system ready for testing as a potential long-range naval fire support weapon for emerging ships, such as the Zumwalt-class destroyer. The CLGG, like the railgun, is a possible candidate technology for greater ranges for naval systems, among others. UTRON has built and tested 45mm and 155mm combustion light-gas guns.

Guided missile destroyer

A guided-missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. The NATO standard designation for these vessels is DDG. Nations vary in their use of destroyer D designation in their hull pennant numbering, either prefixing or dropping it altogether. The U.S. Navy has adopted the classification DDG in the American hull classification system.

In addition to the guns, a guided-missile destroyer is usually equipped with two large missile magazines, usually in vertical-launch cells. Some guided-missile destroyers contain powerful radar systems, such as the United States’ Aegis Combat System, and may be adopted for use in an anti-missile or ballistic-missile defense role. This is especially true of navies that no longer operate cruisers, so other vessels must be adopted to fill in the gap.

Inverted bow

In ship design, an inverted bow (occasionally also referred to as reverse bow) is a ship's or large boat's bow whose farthest forward point is not at the top. The result may somewhat resemble a submarine's bow. Inverted bows maximize the length of waterline and hence the hull speed, and have often better hydrodynamic drag than ordinary bows. On the other hand, they have very little reserve buoyancy and tend to dive under waves instead of piercing or going over them.

Inverted bows were popular on battleships and large cruisers in the early 20th century. They fell out of favour, as they were very wet on high speeds and heavy seas, but have made a comeback on modern ship design.

Leslie Wolfe

Leslie Wolfe (born 1967) is a bestselling American novelist.

Long Range Land Attack Projectile

The Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) is a precision guided 155 mm naval artillery shell for the U.S. Navy's Advanced Gun System. LRLAP was developed and produced by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, the prime contractor being BAE Systems.

The LRLAP uses a rocket-assisted projectile with fin glide trajectory. The warhead effectiveness is comparable to that of the M795 artillery shell, and with the AGS it is capable of 6 round MRSI impact in a span of 2 seconds. It uses a blast fragmentation type warhead.The LRLAP is used only in the AGS, and the AGS is used only on the Zumwalt-class destroyer, with two AGSs on each ship. In November 2016, the Navy announced it had decided to cancel procurement of the LRLAP. This was due to rising costs resulting from the trimming of the Zumwalt-class destroyer fleet to just three ships, raising individual shell cost to $800,000-$1 million, about as much as the Tomahawk cruise missile. About 90 rounds had been secured for testing aboard the three hulls, but a full buy of about 2,000 planned rounds would be about $1.8-$2 billion.

Mark 41 Vertical Launching System

The Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) is a shipborne missile canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) concept was derived from work on the Aegis Combat System.

Phalanx CIWS

The Phalanx CIWS (pronounced "sea-wiz") is a close-in weapon system for defense against airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles and helicopters. It was designed and manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, Pomona Division (now a part of Raytheon). Consisting of a radar-guided 20 mm Vulcan cannon mounted on a swiveling base, the Phalanx has been used by multiple navies around the world, notably the U.S. Navy, which deploys it on every class of surface combat ship except the Zumwalt-class destroyer and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, by the Royal Canadian Navy, the British Royal Navy, and by the U.S. Coast Guard aboard its Hamilton- and Legend-class cutters. The Phalanx is used by 15 other allied nations.

A land variant, known as the LPWS (Land Phalanx Weapon System), part of the C-RAM system, has recently been deployed in a short range missile defense role, to counter incoming rockets, artillery and mortar fire. The U.S. Navy also fields the SeaRAM system, which pairs the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile with sensors based on the Phalanx.

Because of their distinctive barrel-shaped radome and their automated nature of operation, Phalanx CIWS units are sometimes nicknamed "R2-D2" after the famous droid character from the Star Wars films.

SC-21 (United States)

SC-21 (Surface Combatant for the 21st century) was a research and development program started in 1994 intended to design land attack ships for the United States Navy. A wide variety of designs were created and extensively examined, including an arsenal ship with 500 cruise missiles. Eventually a "tumblehome" design of around 16,000 tons with two long-range guns and 128 missile tubes was selected as the DD-21, the Destroyer for the 21st century. The program ended in November 2001, with a version of the DD-21 emerging as the DD(X) or Zumwalt class destroyer. It was envisaged that the DD-21 hull would be used for a future air defense cruiser (CG-21), which then eventually evolved into the CG(X) program.

Sea Jet

Sea Jet, or Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD), is a naval testbed funded by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. The 133-foot (41 m) vessel is operated out of the Carderock Division's Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview, Idaho.Sea Jet was operated on Lake Pend Oreille, where she was used for test and demonstration of various technologies. Among the first technologies tested was an underwater discharge water jet from Rolls-Royce Naval Marine, Inc., called AWJ-21, a propulsion concept with the goals of providing increased propulsive efficiency, reduced acoustic signature, and improved maneuverability over previous Destroyer Class combatants.Sea Jet demonstrates a few technologies that will be integrated into the Zumwalt-class destroyer. Notable among these is the use of the tumblehome hull design.

Stealth ship

A stealth ship is a ship which employs stealth technology construction techniques in an effort to ensure that it is harder to detect by one or more of radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods.

These techniques borrow from stealth aircraft technology, although some aspects such as wake and acoustic signature reduction (Acoustic quieting) are unique to stealth ships' design. Though radar cross-section (RCS) reduction is a fairly new concept many other forms of masking a ship have existed for centuries or even millennia.

USS Lyndon B. Johnson

USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) will be the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer built for the United States Navy. The contract to build her was awarded to Bath Iron Works located in Bath, Maine, on 15 September 2011. The award, along with funds for the construction of USS Michael Monsoor, was worth US$1.826 billion. On 16 April 2012, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the ship would be named Lyndon B. Johnson in honor of Lyndon B. Johnson, who served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969. Johnson served in the Navy during World War II, when he was awarded the Silver Star, and ultimately reached the U.S. Naval Reserve rank of commander. DDG-1002 is the 34th ship named by the Navy after a U.S. president.

USS Michael Monsoor

USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) is the second ship of the Zumwalt class of guided missile destroyers. The Zumwalts were designed as multi-mission surface combatants tailored for advanced land attack and littoral dominance with a mission of providing credible, independent forward presence and deterrence and operating as integral parts of naval, joint or combined maritime forces. Their main guns are a pair of Advanced Gun Systems (AGS). Because the AGS is currently unusable due to a suspension of its ammunition development program, they cannot provide naval gunfire support and their mission is now surface warfare.Michael Monsoor is the second Zumwalt-class destroyer. The ship is 600 feet (180 m) in length, with a beam of 80.7 feet (24.6 m) and displacing approximately 15,000 tons. Michael Monsoor will have a crew size of 148 officers and sailors; she can make speed in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).

USS Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The contract to build her was awarded on 26 September 2011 to Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. On 15 February 2012, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the ship's named to be Ralph Johnson in honor of Marine Ralph H. Johnson, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for shielding two fellow Marines from a grenade in March 1968 during the Vietnam War. The contract was worth $697.6 million fixed price, and was also the 30th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer contract issued to Ingalls Shipbuilding.Ralph Johnson will be the 64th ship of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers, the first of which, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), was commissioned in July 1991. With 75 ships planned to be built in total, the class has the longest production run for any U.S. Navy surface combatant. As an Arleigh Burke-class ship, Ralph Johnson's roles included anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare, as well as strike operations. During it long production run, the class was built in three flights—Flight I (DDG-51–DDG-71), Flight II (DDG-72–DDG-78), and Flight IIA (DDG-79– ). Ralph Johnson will be a Flight IIA ship, and as such, will feature several improvements in terms of ballistic missile defence, an embarked air wing, and the inclusion of mine-detecting ability.In 2008, the U.S. Navy decided to restart production of the Arleigh Burke class as orders for the Zumwalt-class destroyer was reduced from ten to three. The first three ships (DDG-113—DDG-115) ordered following the product decision are known as the "restart" ships, while "technology insertion" ships (DDG-116—DDG-123) are expected to incorporate certain elements of Arleigh Burke class Flight III, which in turn will run from DDG-124 onwards. As a "restart" ship, Ralph Johnson will primarily feature upgraded electronics; she was originally scheduled to be delivered in August 2016, but construction was delayed and delivery is scheduled for late 2017 after her sea trials are completed in the middle of the year.The warship arrived at the Port of Charleston's Columbus Street Terminal on March 19, 2018 and was commissioned on March 24, 2018.

USS Zumwalt

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is a guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy. She is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class and the first ship to be named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Zumwalt has stealth capabilities, having a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite her large size. On 7 December 2015, Zumwalt began her sea trial preparatory to joining the Pacific Fleet. The ship was commissioned in Baltimore on 15 October 2016. Her home port is San Diego, California.

Vertical launching system

A vertical launching system (VLS) is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines. Each vertical launch system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for firing. Typically, each cell can hold a number of different types of missiles, allowing the ship flexibility to load the best set for any given mission. Further, when new missiles are developed, they are typically fitted to the existing vertical launch systems of that nation, allowing existing ships to use new types of missiles without expensive rework. When the command is given, the missile flies straight up long enough to clear the cell and the ship, and then turns on course.

A VLS allows surface combatants to have a greater number of weapons ready for firing at any given time compared to older launching systems such as the Mark 13 single-arm and Mark 26 twin-arm launchers, which were fed from behind by a magazine below the main deck. In addition to greater firepower, VLS is much more damage tolerant and reliable than the previous systems, and has a lower radar cross-section (RCS). The U.S. Navy now relies exclusively on VLS for its guided missile destroyers and cruisers.

The most widespread vertical launch system in the world is the Mark 41, developed by the United States Navy. More than 11,000 Mark 41 VLS missile cells have been delivered, or are on order, for use on 186 ships across 19 ship classes, in 11 navies around the world. This system currently serves with the US Navy as well as the Australian, Danish, Dutch, German, Japanese, New Zealand, Norwegian, South Korean, Spanish, and Turkish navies, while others like the Greek Navy preferred the similar Mark 48 system.The advanced Mark 57 vertical launch system is used on the new Zumwalt-class destroyer. The older Mark 13 and Mark 26 systems remain in service on ships that were sold to other countries such as Taiwan and Poland.

When installed on an SSN (nuclear-powered attack submarine), a VLS allows a greater number and variety of weapons to be deployed, compared with using only torpedo tubes.

Zumwalt-class destroyers


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