The US Navy’s DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are the backbone of their present and future fleet. Unfortunately, they have a problem. Two problems, actually.
One problem involves keeping the fleet’s operating costs low, especially fuel use. These ships aren’t as efficient as more modern designs, especially at the low cruising speeds that make up so much of a ship’s operating life. The other problem is that DDG-51 destroyers are having trouble generating enough power, especially if they want to receive new radars like the proposed AMDR. Since this destroyer class includes the majority of American ballistic missile-defense ships, their ability to remain relevant, and to field an upgraded “Flight III” variant, is critical to maintaining US sea power.
A Northrop Grumman team, which includes Curtiss-Wright and L-3, believes that they may have the answer to both problems. Nor are they the only firm looking into this.