The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program: Dead Aim, Or Dead End?
May 24/19: New Squad The US Navy created a new experimental squadron that will include the Zumwalt Class destroyers and Unmanned Surface Vehicles. At a ceremony on Wednesday, commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force Pacific announced the formation of Surface Development Squadron One to encourage innovation, experimentation, and combat readiness. The squadron will integrate the drone vessels and support fleet experimentation to accelerate delivery of new warfighting concepts and capabilities to the fleet. The USS Zumwalt, which formally was designated as Zumwalt Squadron One, initially will reside in the squadron with two Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessels next year.
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
FY 1998 – 2004
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