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Zumwalt-class destroyer

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Zumwalt-class destroyer

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), the lead ship of her class, after floating out of drydock in 2013.
Class overview
Name: Zumwalt
Builders: Huntington Ingalls, Bath Iron Works
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Cost: US$3.45 billion (unit cost),[1] US$12.07 billion (total program cost including R&D)[2][3]
In commission: March 2015 (forecast)[4]
Building: 2
Completed: 1
General characteristics
Class & type: Zumwalt
Type: Multi-mission destroyer, emphasis on land attack
Displacement: 14,564 long tons (14,798 t)[5]
Length: 600 ft (180 m)
Beam: 80.7 ft (24.6 m)
Draft: 27.6 ft (8.4 m)
Propulsion: 2 Rolls-Royce Marine Trent-30 gas turbines driving Curtiss-Wright generators[6] plus 2 Rolls-Royce RR4500 gas turbine generator sets,[7] 78 MW (105,000 shp); 2 propellers driven by electric motors
Speed: In excess of 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 140
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) (X-band, scanned array)[8]
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for up to two medium-lift helicopters

The Zumwalt-class destroyers are a class of United States Navy destroyers designed as multi-mission stealth ships with a focus on land attack. The class is a scaled-back project that emerged after funding cuts to the larger DD-21 vessel program. The program was previously known as the "DD(X)". The class is multi-role and designed for surface warfare, anti-aircraft, and naval fire support. They take the place of battleships in filling the former congressional mandate for naval fire support,[11] though the requirement was reduced to allow them to fill this role. The vessels' appearance has been compared to that of the historic ironclad warship.[12]

The class has a low radar profile; an integrated power system, which can send electricity to the electric drive motors or weapons, which may someday include a railgun[13] or free-electron lasers;[14] total ship computing environment infrastructure, serving as the ship's primary LAN and as the hardware-independent platform for all of the ship's software ensembles; automated fire-fighting systems and automated piping rupture isolation. The class is designed to require a smaller crew and be less expensive to operate than comparable warships. It will have a wave-piercing tumblehome hull form whose sides slope inward above the waterline. This will reduce the radar cross-section, returning much less energy than a more hard-angled hull form. As of January 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that only four out of 12 of the critical technologies were mature.[15]

The lead ship will be named Zumwalt for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, and carries the hull number DDG-1000. Originally 32 ships were planned, with the $9.6 billion research and development costs spread across the class, but as the quantity was reduced to 10, then 3, the cost-per-ship increased dramatically.[16][17] The cost increase caused the U.S. Navy to identify the program as being in breach of the Nunn–McCurdy Amendment on 1 February 2010.[18][19]


Background and funding

Many of the features were developed under the DD21 program ("21st Century Destroyer"), which was originally designed around the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS, see below). 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.[16] On 23 November 2005, the Defense Acquisition Board approved a plan for simultaneous construction of the first two ships at Northrop’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.[16] However, this was increased to two ships by the 2007 appropriations bill[20] approved in September 2006, which allotted US$2,568m to the DDG-1000 program.[21]

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 needs the next-generation DDG-1000 class,[22] 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.[22] The navy concluded from fifteen classified intelligence reports that the DDG-1000s would be vulnerable to forms of missile attacks.[23] Many Congressional subcommittee members appeared incredulous that the navy could have conducted 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 surface ship program known as DD-21, then DD(X) and finally, DDG-1000. That figure does not include the money spent for the two hulls (DDG-1000 and DDG-1001).[22] Subsequently Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead has 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.[24] 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".[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

A 26 January 2009 memo from John Young, the US DoD's 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. If true, that means that the program has breached the Nunn–McCurdy Amendment, requiring the Navy to recertify and rejustify the program to Congress.[28]

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.[29] 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. The first DDG-1000 destroyer is expected to cost $3.5 billion, the second is to cost approximately $2.5 billion, and the third even less.[30]

What had once been seen as the backbone of the navy's future surface fleet[31] with a planned production run of 32, has since been replaced by destroyer production reverting to the Arleigh Burke class after ordering three Zumwalts.[32] The Zumwalt's failure[33] is a result of a negative feedback loop of spiraling costs and plummeting productions numbers described by Chuck Spinney as the death spiral, joining other projects such as the F-22, F-35, and Future Combat System.[34]


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 is the Mission Systems Integrator. Both Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works share dual-lead for the hull, mechanical, and electrical detailed design. BAE Systems Inc. has 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. are involved to some extent in this project, which is 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, 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.[20]

Northrop Grumman was awarded a $90M contract modification for materials and production planning on 13 November 2007.[35] On 14 February 2008, Bath Iron Works was awarded a contract for the construction of the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding was awarded a contract for the construction of USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), at a cost of $1.4 billion each.[36]

On 11 February 2009, full-rate production officially began on the first Zumwalt-class destroyer.[37] Construction on the second ship of the class, Michael Monsoor, began in March 2010.[38] The keel for the first Zumwalt-class destroyer was laid on 17 November 2011.[38] This first vessel was launched from the shipyard at Bath, Maine on 29 October 2013.[39]

The construction timetable in July 2008 was:[4]

  • October 2008: DDG-1000 starts construction at Bath Iron Works[40][41][42]
  • September 2009: DDG-1001 starts construction at Bath Iron Works.[43]
  • April 2012: DDG-1002 starts construction at Bath Iron Works[44]
  • April 2013: DDG-1000 initial delivery
  • May 2014: DDG-1001 delivery
  • March 2015: Initial operating capability
  • Fiscal 2018: DDG-1002 delivery

The Navy plans for the USS Zumwalt to reach initial operating capability (IOC) in 2016. The second ship, the USS Michael Monsoor, is to reach IOC in 2018, and the third ship, the USS Lyndon B Johnson, is to reach IOC in 2021.[45]

Names and hull numbers

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.[4] Its hull number will be DDG-1000, which abandons the guided missile destroyer sequence used by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51– ), and continues the previous "gun destroyer" sequence from the last of Spruance-class, USS Hayler (DD-997).

DDG-1001 will be named for Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, the second SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the navy announced on 29 October 2008.[46]

On 16 April 2012, the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that DDG-1002 will be named for former naval officer and U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson.[47]

Design elements

Planned features of the DDG-1000


Despite being 40% larger than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer the radar signature is more akin to a fishing boat, according to a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command;[48] sound levels are compared to the Los Angeles-class submarines. The tumblehome hull reduces radar return and the composite material deckhouse also has a low radar return. Water sleeting along the sides, along with passive cool air induction in the mack reduces thermal emissions.[49] Overall, the destroyer's angular build makes it "50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer.[48]

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.[50][51][52] 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).[52]

Tumblehome wave piercing hull

A return to a hull form not seen since the La Seyne in Toulon, French naval architects believed that tumblehome, in which the beam of the vessel narrowed from the water-line 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 (canals).[53] On the down side, the tumblehome battleships experienced losses in watertight integrity and/or stability problems (especially in high speed turns).[54] 21st century tumblehome is being reintroduced to reduce the radar return of the hull. The inverted bow is designed to cut through waves rather than ride over them.[49][55] As mentioned above, the stability of this hull form in high sea states has caused debate among naval architects. The tumblehome has not been featured in USN concept designs since the Zumwalt class.

Advanced Gun System

There has been research on extending the range of naval gunfire for many years. Canadian engineer Gerald Bull and Naval Ordnance Station Indian Head tested an 11 inch (279 mm) sub-caliber saboted long-range round[56] in a stretched 16-inch/45 (406 mm) Mark 6 battleship gun in 1967.[57] The Advanced Gun Weapon System Technology Program (AGWSTP) evaluated a similar projectile with longer range in the 1980s.[56] After the battleships were decommissioned in 1992, the AGWSTP became a 5-inch (127 mm) gun with an intended range of 180 kilometers (110 mi), which then led to the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). The original DD-21 was designed around this "vertical gun", but the project ran into serious technology/cost problems and was radically scaled back to a more conventional 6.1 inch (155 mm) Advanced Gun System (AGS). One advantage of this move was that the gun was no longer restricted to guided munitions.

The Advanced Gun System is a 155 mm naval gun, two of which would be installed in each ship. This system consists of an advanced 155 mm gun and the Long Range Land Attack Projectile.[58] This projectile is a rocket with a warhead fired from the AGS gun; the warhead weighs 11 kg / 24 lb and has a circular error of probability of 50 meters. This weapon system will have a range of 83 nautical miles (154 km);[Note 1][48] the fully automated storage system will have room for up to 750 rounds.[49][58] The barrel is water-cooled to prevent overheating and allows a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute per gun. The combined firepower from a pair of turrets gives each Zumwalt-class destroyer firepower equivalent to 12 conventional M198 field guns.[59]

In order to provide sufficient stability to fire these guns, the Zumwalt will use ballast tanks to lower itself into the water.[60]

Peripheral Vertical Launch System

The Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS) is an attempt to reclaim the prized center space of the hull while increasing the safety of the ship from the loss of the entire missile battery and the loss of the ship in the case of a magazine explosion. The system scatters pods of VLS around the outer shell of the ship having a thin steel outer shell and a thick inner shell. The design of the PVLS would direct the force of the explosion outward rather than ripping the ship in half. Additionally this design keeps the loss of missile capacity down to just the pod being hit.[49][61]

Boat and helicopter arrangements

Two spots will be available on a large aviation deck with a hangar capable of housing two full size SH-60 helicopters.[62] Boat handling is to be dealt within a stern mounted boat hangar with ramp. The boat hangar’s stern location meets high sea state requirements for boat operations.[49]

Dual-band radar

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.[63] 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.[32] 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.[32][64] 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.[65][66]

The Dual Band Radar in its entirety (SPY-3 & SPY-4) is to be installed only on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). With the development of the AMDR (Air and Missile Defense Radar), it is not known whether the DBR is to be installed on any other platforms separately, as it is on the DDG-1000 class, or in total, as it is on the CVN-78.

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 optimal planned aperture of 14 feet (4.3 m), the AMDR for the Flight III ships is to be less sensitive than the 22 ft 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 (TSCE) Infrastructure, 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.[67]

Common Display System

The ship's Common Display System, nicknamed "keds": Sailors operate keds via "trackballs and specialized button panels," with the option to "interface by using touchscreens". The technology array allowing sailors to monitor multiple weapons systems or sensors, saving manpower, and allowing it to be steered from the ops center.[48]


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.[68]

  • 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)[69]

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 to destroy submarines that the sonar picks up.[60]


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.[49] As part of the design phase, Northrop Grumman had built the world's largest permanent magnet motor, designed and fabricated by DRS Technologies. 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"...[70]

Integrated Power System (IPS)

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]


Automation reduces crew size on these ships: the Zumwalt-class destroyer's minimum compliment is 130, less than half of needed by "similar warships",[48] Smaller crews reduce a major component of operating costs.[49] 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.[49]

Water spray or mist systems are proposed for deployment in the Zumwalt-class destroyer but the electronic spaces remains problematic to the designers. Halon/Nitrogen dump systems are preferred but do not work when the space has been compromised by a hull breach. The GAO has noted this system as a potential problem yet to be addressed.[49][71]

Computer network

The Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI) is based on GE Fanuc Embedded Systems' PPC7A and PPC7D single-board computers[72] running LynuxWorks' LynxOS RTOS.[73] These are contained in 16 shock, vibration and electromagnetic protected Electronic Modular Enclosures.[74]


Lawmakers and others have questioned whether the Zumwalt-class costs too much and whether it provides the capabilities the U.S. military needs. In 2005 the Congressional Budget Office estimated the acquisition cost of a DD(X) at $3.8–4.0bn in 2007 dollars, $1.1bn more than the navy's estimate.[75]

The National Defense Authorization Act For 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 following: “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 over 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 finally to 7 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.”

Concerns have been raised about the design. These are described below.

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.[76]

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."[68] 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".[25] 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,[77] unlike the DDG-1000's Raytheon TSCE-I targeting and tracking software,[72] 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).[32] 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/SM3 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,[78][79] 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".[80]

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')[81] and used much more energy and cooling capacity than the DDG-1000's.[32] Since then, the 22' (6.7 m) radar system has been canceled with the CG(X) and it has been determined that a 14' (4.2 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".[81] 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.[82]

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."[83] 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.[84]

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.[85]

It is possible for the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s 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 is also being proposed.[32][86]

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.[60]

Missile capacity

The original DD21 design, displacing around 16,000 tons, would have accommodated between 117 and 128 VLS cells.[87] However, the final DDG-1000 design was considerably smaller than that of the DD21, resulting in room for only 80 VLS cells.[88] Given the vessel's expected role, the Zumwalt-class destroyers will likely carry many more Tomahawk missiles than either the Ticonderoga- or Arleigh Burke-class ships.

Each VLS cell can be quad packed with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). This gives a maximum theoretical ESSM load out of 320 missiles. The ESSM is considered a point defense weapon not generally used for fleet area defense, although the ESSM has a range (27 NM) exceeding that of the earlier Naval Tartar anti-aircraft missile (17.5 NM RIM-24C).

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 (TSCE) integrated mission system. The peripheral vertical launch system (PVLS) VLS is capable of accommodating all Standard missile types [89] 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

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, [90]

A controversial point of the DD(X) destroyer(s) is their planned naval surface fire support (NSFS) role. The original DD21 and the Arsenal Ship had more serious NSFS capabilities, which would meet a Congress-mandated requirement related to the Iowa-class battleships. The requirement was eventually relaxed, the battleships stricken from the registry, and the navy left with small tonnage ships for NSFS or alternative methods such as air support. The official position of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy is that the Zumwalt-class destroyer(s) will be adequate as naval surface gunfire support ships, although there are dissenters.[91]

AGS being fired in September 2009 to test a new coating intended to extend barrel life at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah

While smaller caliber guns (and missiles) have been used for centuries in naval fire support, very large guns have special capabilities beyond that of mid-range calibers. US battleships were re-activated three times after WWII specifically for naval fire support, and their 16 inch (406 mm) gunfire was used in every major engagement of the U.S. from WWII through Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.[92] The Zumwalt-class will have two 6.1 inch (155 mm) guns with limited ammunition. The ships will fire a specially designed "guided" artillery shell some 63 nautical miles (117 km) inland.[90] However, this shell has a reduced warhead size and uses new technology, so most of the shells carried on the DDG would have vastly shorter range.

In March 2006, Iowa and Wisconsin were stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, having been kept on in part to fill a naval fire support role. However, Congress was "deeply concerned" over the loss of naval surface gunfire support they could provide and noted that "navy efforts to improve upon, much less replace, this capability have been highly problematic",[93] The U.S. House of Representatives asked that the battleships be kept in a state of readiness should they ever be needed again[94] and directed the navy to increase the number of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that are currently being modernized.[94] The modernization includes extending the range of the 5-inch guns on the Flight 1 ships with extended range guided munitions (ERGMs) that would enable the ships to fire projectiles about forty nautical miles inland;[95][96] However the ERGM was canceled after it failed firing tests in February 2008.[97] The Navy is studying future options for naval fire support; Alliant Techsystems’ ballistic trajectory extended range munition may be one possibility.[97] Adapting the 155 mm LRLAP to the 5"/54 Mk 45 gun is another option the navy is pursuing with BAE and Lockheed Martin as contractors.

Structural problems

Zumwalt has a deckhouse made from composite material which encloses much of the sensors and electronics.[98] In 2008, Defense News reported there had been problems sealing the composite construction panels of this area, but Northrop Grumman has denied this.[99]

Tumblehome design stability

Sea Jet, out of the water and showing the unique hull design
Sea Jet, an Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator

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 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."[100] The decision to not use a tumblehome hull in the CG(X) cruiser, before the program was canceled, may suggest that there were concerns regarding Zumwalt '​s seakeeping.[79] However, in a 1/4 scale test of the hull design, named Sea Jet, the tumblehome hull proved seaworthy.[101]

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 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.

Secondary guns

In 2005, a Critical Design Review (CDR) of the DDG-1000 led to the selection of the Mk 110 57 mm 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 (10 mi; 17 km). 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 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 (2.50 mi; 4.02 km).[10]

Naval experts have questioned the decision to replace the close-in swarm defense guns of the Zumwalt 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 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.[102]


  1. ^ As of June 2014, the AGS the Zumwalt "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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External links

General Information about DD(X) Class Destroyers
  • Raytheon's official DDG 1000 Program web page
  • Eaglen, Mackenzie (7 October 2008). "Changing Course on Navy Shipbuilding: Questions Congress Should Ask Before Funding". The Heritage Foundation.  Excellent recent overview of Zumwalts versus Burkes
  • Sea Jet Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD)
  • Description of the DD numbering system for ships in the U.S. Navy
  • Video – Advanced Gun System (AGS) Employment in Asymmetric Warfare Simulation Scenario
  • Video – Navy Advanced Gun System (AGS) Non-combatant Evacuation Simulation Scenario
  • General DD(X) Destroyer page
  • report on the DD(X) Destroyer program
  • Overview of the DD(X) Destroyer program and its capabilities
  • Zumwalt class Destroyer (Navy Recognition)
  • Concept of employment for naval surface fire support (near term capability)
  • Information on the Advanced Gun System set to be installed on the DD(X) destroyers
  • Meet the Zumwalt: The Navy's stealth destroyer will go to sea next spring
Government reports regarding the DD(X) Destroyer program
  • DoD press release: Navy Designates Next-Generation Zumwalt Destroyer
  • House letter recommending against a "winner take all" construction strategy for the DD(X) destroyer program
  • 1995 US General Accounting Office report on the US Navy’s Naval Surface Fire Support program
  • 2004 US Government Accountability Office Report: Challenges Facing the DD(X) Destroyer Program
  • 2005 US Government Accountability Office Report: Issues Related to Navy Battleships
  • 2005 CRS Report for Congress: Navy DD(X) and CG(X) Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
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