Zumwalt Class Destroyers

Dec 2, 2000
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From Defence News.com:

Nuclear-Powered DDG? Lawmakers, Navy Differ
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Could a nuclear-powered version of the venerable Arleigh Burke DDG 51-class destroyer become the next missile cruiser for the U.S. Navy? That's the vision of at least one influential congressman.

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairman of the seapower subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, said March 6 he is seeking to add money to the 2009 request to fund an effort to build a nuclear-powered warship that would supplant construction of the DDG 1000 destroyers.
More at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3410184&c=AME&s=SEA

Comment: The cheaper solution is rarely ever any such thing. While there is no technical reason why the DDG-51 hull cannot be redesigned around a nuclear power plant, the end result would still be a new hull with new systems which would bear only a superficial resemblance to the old one. If you're going to end up redesigning the hull anyway, why not go for something more up to date then a vintage 1980's design?
 
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>>I wonder if this might set us up for that to happen again- <<

It's possible. I remember the strike cruiser as a dead end design which went nowhere and a modified Spruance class hull became the Ticonderoga class. It was cheaper, but not by much. If you have any copies of Norman Friedman's design histories, you'll see a lot of proposals, some quite outlandish, which ultimately went nowhere.
 

Jim Hathaway

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>>If you have any copies of Norman Friedman's design histories, you'll see a lot of proposals, some quite outlandish, which ultimately went nowhere.<<
I have all except the small combatants volume, I have been a fan of Freidman for a long time-
Aegis is the gold standard in combat system, but it has been with the fleet for about 25 years.
I just worry about designing a nuclear ship around a system at this stage. The lifetime costs of a nuclear ship will be greater.
I remember the Virginia class CGs which were good ships, but when Aegis came, they still had a bit of life left in the hulls, but there would be no way to justify using it in view of the greater capabilities of Aegis.
 
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>>I have all except the small combatants volume,<<

I've got that one somewhere. It makes for some interesting reading and curious reading as well. Historically, the USN has an institutional dislike of brown water operations even though some of our longest wars such as the Civil War and the Vietnam "Police Action" called for just that. We get good at it, then we scrap it only to have to start all over again when it's called for.

The Littoral Combat Ship is something of a return to that though it's really too large for that sort of thing and they may be attempting to do too much on a single hull.

That's not to say it's a bad idea, but my concern is that they'll try to do more with the LCS then it's really good for.

>>I just worry about designing a nuclear ship around a system at this stage. The lifetime costs of a nuclear ship will be greater.<<

That may well change the way oil is going. This morning, it was ringing bells at $105 a barrel and there's talk in financial circles that it may hit $200 a barrel. If it does, then nuclear power is going to look a lot better!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Your Defence News:

Zumwalt team achieves software certification milestone
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TEWKSBURY, Mass., July 10, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has achieved another significant program milestone for the Zumwalt-class destroyer.
The company successfully completed the U.S. Navy software certification panel for the Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) Release 4, verifying readiness to proceed to the next phase of software development.
For the rest, see http://www.yourdefencenews.com/news_item.php?newsID=7852

Comment: Software is nice, but the question which goes begging is: Will they even be allowed to build the bloody ship? Even Congress can't make up it's mind!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

DDG 1000 destroyer program facing major cuts
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Indications are growing that the Navy is poised to forego further construction of the advanced but very expensive DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers and end the program at two ships.

Those first two destroyers were authorized in the 2007 budget, and shipbuilders General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman will begin construction of each ship this summer. A third ship is in the 2009 budget request, and current plans call for a total of seven Zumwalts.

But the price tag for the ships is staggering: $3.3 billion per copy according to Navy planners, over $5 billion and more by outside estimates. Even at the lower price, they would be the most expensive surface combatants ever built.
For the rest, see http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/07/defense_ddg100_071408/

Comment: My own prediction is that this program is going to die. Congress doesn't get over this sort of sticker shock easily, and when even the Navy is uncomfortable about the situation, that doesn't bode well for the survival of the program.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Boston Globe:

Collins: Navy has not decided to scrap destroyer
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PORTLAND, Maine–Despite media reports to the contrary, the Navy has not decided to scrap its newest destroyer after the first two are built, Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday.

A top-level meeting of Navy officials to discuss the fate of the Zumwalt destroyer that was supposed to happen last Thursday has been rescheduled for next week, said Collins, R-Maine.
More at
http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2008/07/15/collins_navy_has_not_decided_to_scrap_destroyer/

Comment: The weasal wording is starting to get a little thick.
 
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Michael,

Zumwalt is not going to die. It may be cut back, but there's more to modern shipbuilding than just building ships. There's an investment in the Zumwalt technologies that extend far beyond the actual hulls themselves.

A lot of this talk about the Zumwalt class dying can be traced back to a proposal to upgrade the CG-51 class. That's a non-starter for many reasons other than the obvious. If that does happen (I'm not claiming that it won't, especially given the uncertainty of the immediate political future), then the Navy will once again be saddled with ships that can't fully execute their strategic vision. My opinion.

FYI, I no longer work on the Zumwalt programme. I decided for purposes of personal career growth to leave Raytheon for a new position at Lockheed Martin.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Zumwalt is not going to die. It may be cut back, but there's more to modern shipbuilding than just building ships. There's an investment in the Zumwalt technologies that extend far beyond the actual hulls themselves.<<

That's good to hear. I'd hate to see all the R&D wasted by all the politricking around.

BTW, congrats on the new position at Lockheed Martin.
 
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During 2 years working on my portion of the Zumwalt programme, I saw my budget shrink by several million dollars while all the while the number of our requirements actually grew. In other words, we provided more functionality than planned for less then the original budgeted cost. It's disheartening to see that our efforts have been negatively offset by over-runs in other areas.

The CG-51 class is inadequate to perform the role that the Navy was demanding of the DDG-1000 class. Since the platform can't support the strategy, it will be interesting to see how the strategy might be altered to accommodate the platform.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>It's disheartening to see that our efforts have been negatively offset by over-runs in other areas.<<

Aye, that it would be. Still, it looks to me as if the bottom line here was the sticker shock. somebody was uneasy enough about it to pull the plug regardless of the merits of the design.

>>it will be interesting to see how the strategy might be altered to accommodate the platform.<<

Will they try? A rheotorical question perhaps as it's not as if the Navy has any wiggle room here. The thing is that the mission requirement is still there and what I'm wondering is with exactly what they intend to meet it?

Or did the mission requirement get round filed with the platform?
 
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From The Star Tribune:

Cost and vulnerability became factors in decision to sack Navy's newest destroyer
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PORTLAND, Maine - Growing costs and vulnerability to anti-ship missiles sank the Navy's once-heralded "stealth destroyer," a highly advanced warship designed to slip close to the shore unnoticed and pummel targets with big guns.

Faced with cost estimates upward of $5 billion per ship, the Navy had no choice but to let its prized DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program end after the first two ships are built, analysts said Wednesday.
Two page story begins at http://www.startribune.com/nation/25845404.html?location_refer=Nation:highlightModules:6

Comment: Okay, the sticker shock I believe but vulnerability to anti-ship missiles? Every warship save for a submerged submarine is vulnerable to anti-ship missiles. That's why they have defences installed to deal with them. Methinks there's a very shallow read of the situation on the part of the media here. Parks, I would welcome your insights on this.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Boston.com:

Senators decry Navy decision on destroyers
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WASHINGTON - A coalition of US Senators yesterday launched a counteroffensive against the Navy's decision to scrap a $20 billion destroyer program that was to deliver huge contracts to Raytheon Co. of Waltham and Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Led by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the dozen senators from Massachusetts, Maine, and elsewhere threatened to hold up other shipbuilding funds if the Navy doesn't provide more explanation for why it won't buy more of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class of ships after the first two are finished around 2014.
Two page story begins at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/07/25/senators_decry_navy_decision_on_destroyers/
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

Critics blast move to end DDG 1000
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The Navy’s decision to build at least nine more DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and end the new DDG 1000 Zumwalt class at two ships has drawn hearty applause from some corners. But supporters at the Pentagon and in Congress are insisting the issue is far from over.

The Navy’s leadership signed off on the plan July 22, when Navy Secretary Donald Winter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead met with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Pentagon acquisition chief John Young. England approved the Navy’s desire to “truncate”￾ the seven-ship Zumwalt class to two ships and build more Burkes, a line that was to end at 62 ships.
More at http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/07/navy_zumwalt_0727082/
 

Jim Hathaway

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Given that vunerability to antiship missiles is a cause for termination of the DDG-1000, I wonder what effect that mat have on the LCS being that it is designed to operate in the inshore environment also.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Given that vunerability to antiship missiles is a cause for termination of the DDG-1000<<

Uhhh...that's one of the stated reasons, Jim. I'm not buying it. As I said above in an earlier post, every major warship is vulnerable to anti-ship missiles on some level, and surely a 14,000 ton vessel would be better able to survive that sort of thing.

My own take on this...and I could be mistaken...is that the real reason is the sticker shock.