The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program: Dead Aim, Or Dead End?
January 4/19: Items order The Navy tapped Raytheon with a $15.9 million contract modification in support of the Zumwalt Class combat systems program office. The modification includes a provisioned items order of DDG 1000 class mission systems equipment interim spares. The DDG 1000 or USS Zumwalt is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class and a multi-mission surface combatant designed to fulfill volume firepower and precision strike requirements. DDG 1000 has a ‘tumblehome’ hull form, a design in which hull slopes inward from above the waterline. This significantly reduces the radar cross section since such a slope returns a much less defined radar image rather than a more hard-angled hull form.The Zumwalt is equipped with two Advanced Gun Systems, which can fire the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). LRLAP was originally meant to be one of a range of land attack and ballistic projectiles for the Advanced Gun Systems. However, LRLAP procurement was cancelled in 2016.
DID’s FOCUS Article for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyer” program covers the new ships’ capabilities and technologies, key controversies, associated contracts and costs, and related background resources.
The ship’s prime missions are to provide naval gunfire support, and next-generation air defense, in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread. There has even been talk of using it as an anchor for action groups of stealthy Littoral Combat Ships and submarines, owing to its design for very low radar, infrared, and acoustic signatures. The estimated 14,500t (battlecruiser size) Zumwalt Class will be fully multi-role, however, with undersea warfare, anti-ship, and long-range attack roles. That makes the DDG-1000 suitable for another role – as a “hidden ace card,” using its overall stealth to create uncertainty for enemy forces.
At over $3 billion per ship for construction alone, however, the program faced significant obstacles if it wanted to avoid fulfilling former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter’s fears for the fleet. From the outset, DID has noted that the Zumwalt Class might face the same fate as the ultra-sophisticated, ultra-expensive SSN-21 Seawolf Class submarines. That appears to have come true, with news of the program’s truncation to just 3 ships. Meanwhile, production continues.
Zumwalt Class: Program and Participants
Program History: The Long and Winding Road
DDG-1000 Key Technologies and Features
DDG-1000 Issues and Controversies
Zumwalt Class: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2014 – 2019
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