Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dead Aim, Or Dead End? The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program

The prime missions of the new DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer are to provide naval gunfire support and next-generation air defense in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread, possibly even as the anchor for an action group of stealthy Littoral Combat Ships and submarines. The estimated 14,500t (cruiser sized) Zumwalt Class will be fully multi-role, however, with undersea warfare, anti-ship, and long-range surface attack roles.

That makes the DDG-1000 suitable or 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.

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