DD (X) Destroyer Program Has Its DAB Review
The USA’s DD (X) future destroyer program faces political challenges. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R-MA, Chair of the House Projection Forces Subcommittee] has openly noted that “we’re now down to a little more than a technology demonstrator platform,” and added that given its cost, a fleet of 5 ships was likely to be the end result rather than the 8-12 planned (or the 32, then 24, originally envisaged). Nevertheless, Rep. Bartlett also notes that the rise of China and US industrial base concerns are driving demand for new options of some kind.
The DD (X) program passed a recent Critical Design Review, but it is still considered one of the Navy’s most vulnerable programs. Indeed, a tug-of-war over the DD (X) is now one of the main obstacles holding up the FY 2006 defense appropriations bill. Alternatives include reactivating the USA’s Iowa Class battleships. So the present Defense Acquisition Board review is very significant to the program. Dan Dupont of Inside Defense has a very fine roundup that explains many of the political angles involved.