Zumwalt Class Destroyers

Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

Navy: No need to add DDG 1000s after all
quote:

Top Navy acquisition officials dramatically reversed course during a congressional hearing Thursday, saying the service needed to purchase more Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51 destroyers, and no longer needs the next-generation destroyer it has been pushing for over the past 13 years.

This, after years of vigorously claiming the service needed to move beyond the 1980s technology in the Burkes and leap ahead with the new ship, the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class. Now, they’re saying the Zumwalts just won’t cut it, citing the planned ship’s inability to fire advanced versions of the Standard Missile, contradicting previous industry claims.
More at http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/07/navy_hearing_073108w/
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I'll tell you what's wrong with that statement. Modern weapons systems (a warship is considered a weapons system) are built to a set of requirements that are flowed down from the customer (in this case, the US Navy). Lower-level requirements written by the contractor must be boarded and approved by the customer before any actual design or construction work can begin. The Navy doesn't procure weapons systems based upon industry claims; on the contrary, industry claims are built off the system that they were contracted by the customer to build. If, for example, the Zumwalt destroyer can't fire a certain type of missile, it's because the Navy didn't want it to. Talk about the ship's inability to defend itself against certain threats is just a red herring, because it was never part of the approved baseline.

And the bit about the USMC not needing long-range gunfire support? Bull-hockey. Shells can be fired all the live-long day at whatever the Marines call the fire into. Marines love NGFS...it's the only real credit they give the Navy. And price...who in their right mind believes that Tomahawks and aircraft are cheaper than 155mm shells? The USMC fought hard for the 155mm AGS and now they are suddenly withdrawing their requirement? Something stinks...worse, when the Marines give up like that, I worry.

Notice how much detail is lacking in the article. Notice how many questions are left unanswered. "Specifics are lacking" is an understatement. There is mention about a change in the threat, but that thread is left hanging. Something is going on behind the scenes and it has nothing to do with "sticker shock." I know for a fact (from my perspective as a Cost Account Manager for one of the Zumwalt elements) that the cost in the Zumwalt programme was tightly controlled and that the Navy knew exactly what it would take to deploy the Zumwalt class. During my two years on the programme, our budgets DECREASED, not the other way around. No, something else not exposed in this article is happening behind the scenes and it's big enough to overcome the protests of the area politicos (Kennedy, Kerry, Tsongas, Langevin, Collins, etc.) who historically have been quite successful in protecting their constituents' interests.

I have my own thoughts about what is happening, but will keep those to myself. It is not a coincidence that I left the Zumwalt programme at this time and went to work in an area that is not quite so dependent upon Congressional funding.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I'll tell you what's wrong with that statement.<<

I figured if anybody could, it would be you.

>>And price...who in their right mind believes that Tomahawks and aircraft are cheaper than 155mm shells?<<

Idiots do. The sort of morons who think that planes and missiles can do it all, historical evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. As to the Marines input, my bet is that they were muzzled...told to shut up. Supposedly, this is what happened when the Iowas were put out to pasture. Don't know if it's true, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

>>Notice how much detail is lacking in the article. Notice how many questions are left unanswered. "Specifics are lacking" is an understatement. There is mention about a change in the threat, but that thread is left hanging.<<

Oh I noticed, but I choked back the comment that I wanted to make which was "Anybody smell a rat? I do."

What I'm left wondering is when somebody is going to spill the beans and whether it will get any press.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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OpEd Piece from The Navy Times:

Editorial: Explain destroyer flip-flop
quote:

The Navy’s credibility sunk to a new low July 31 when service offi¬cials reversed course on the next-generation destroyer after spend¬ing more than a decade – and $10 billion in research and devel¬opment – on the program.
For the rest, see http://www.navytimes.com/community/opinion/navy_editorial_destroyer_081108/

Comment: As you can see, Parks isn't the only one who's smelling a rat.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I think I caught that one a couple of days ago, Jim. The more I look at this, the more I wonder about what is not being said here. What is this classified "threat" they're talking about and how is a basically 25 year old design better suited to meet that threat then the latest and greatest?

Something here isn't right.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Dec 18, 2004
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Are you implying that a US Government agency would display a total lack of fiscal responsibility, and a total lack of intelligent direction in the administration of a project of this size and cost and then produce an outright lie about why it was being cancelled?
Such cynicism!
Me too-
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Are you implying that a US Government agency would display a total lack of fiscal responsibility, and a total lack of intelligent direction in the administration of a project of this size and cost and then produce an outright lie about why it was being cancelled?<<

Damned right I am!

A long time ago, Glen Thurston made penned a little ditty in his adaptation of the old Battlestar Galactica series about the wisdom of listening for what is not being said in political discourse. I never forgot it because it resonates so well with what's going on in real world realpolitik. Often times, what the powers-that-be neglect or refuse to mention is at least if not more important that what they do.

In order to buy into what the Navy is trying to sell here, I would also have to buy into the unsupported assertion that a quarter century old design is better suited for dealing with an undefined/classified thread then a more modern design.

In fairness, this could very well turn out to be true. The battleships an example of a platform which fulfilled an operational need which couldn't really be matched by aircraft and at signifigently less risk. They ultimately went away, but the need they met really hasn't.

I'd just like to see something substantive to back up what they're claiming here and so would Congress.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Charlotte Examiner:

AP NewsBreak: Navy to seek third DDG-1000
quote:

PORTLAND, Maine (Map, News) - The Navy has changed course and decided to push for construction of a third DDG-1000 destroyer that would be built at Bath Iron Works, Sen. Susan Collins said Monday.

The Maine Republican said Navy Secretary Donald Winter informed her of the decision that comes one month after the Navy said it was scrapping the Zumwalt destroyer program once the first two are built. The Navy said at the time that it was opting instead to build more of the current-generation DDG-51, or Arleigh Burke, destroyers.
More at http://www.examiner.com/a-1543285~AP_NewsBreak__Navy_to_seek_third_DDG_1000.html

Comment: What the...???
eh.gif
-???
 

Jim Hathaway

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If I was a suspicious type I would say it looks like a bone offered to avoid an embarassing public spectacle over this-
Assuming they are built, I wonder what value they will have being a very small class and quite different from other ships in service.
Will they become expensive testbeds?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Will they become expensive testbeds?<<

That could very well be the case. If the Navy wants to have one of these ships forward deployed at all times, then three ships would be the absolute minimum needed to do this. One deployed, one in workups, and one in some kind of maintainance availability or refit. In fact, four would be better for that.

My own sense is that these vessels will be something of an oversized white elephant which ultimately will end up being used in the role of a cruiser/destroyer with carrier or amphibious battle groups.
 

Jim Hathaway

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>>used in the role of a cruiser/destroyer with carrier or amphibious battle groups<<
Sounds like HMS Bristol, except she was one of a kind-
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Sounds like HMS Bristol, except she was one of a kind<<

Sounds about right. The problem with the Bristol was that since her original mission died with the CVA-01 project, she really didn't have much of a job so she found one as a testbed. Her size made her useful as a flagship as well. There's actually a decent article on Wikipedia for this ship. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Bristol_(D23) She currently serves as a stationary cadet training ship.
 

Jim Hathaway

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>>Her size made her useful as a flagship as well.<<
Also many of her systems became common in the fleet (Sea Dart, Ikara, 4.5" gun), I hope we will be as lucky with a class of 2-3 Zumwalt class DDGs
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Defence News.com:

Will DDG 1000 Produce Any Ships at All?
quote:

Frustration with the U.S. Navy's refusal to talk substantively about its decision to shrink the DDG 1000 destroyer program is widespread in Washington, noticeably among some key lawmakers - particularly Navy allies - major industrial partners and even senior Pentagon leaders.

The unanswered questions, the Navy's sudden switch away from support for the ship and new hints that structural problems might make construction even more of a problem are adding up, some say, to mean that no ships might come out of the decadelong effort.
More at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3722533&c=SEA&s=TOP
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

Troubled DDG 1000 faces shipyard problems
quote:

One month after the Defense Department signaled that it was changing the Navy’s position on whether to build a third Zumwalt-class destroyer, confusion remains as to why the Navy backed off the program in the first place – and now whether the Navy will be able to build the first two ships.

Sources familiar with the issue say that problems have arisen in guaranteeing the seals between the composite construction panels of the ship’s huge deckhouse. The structure – one of 10 key engineering development models – is to be built by Northrop Grumman’s dedicated composite facility at Gulfport, Miss.
More at http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/09/navy_zumwalt_091508w/
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Defence News.com:

Denying Problems, Northrop Says DDG 1000 Deckhouse on Track
quote:

Shipbuilder Northrop Grumman lashed out last week at assertions that serious problems have arisen with fabrication of the composite superstructure for the U.S. Navy's Zumwalt-class DDG 1000 destroyer.

"The DDG 1000 deckhouse has been through a very thorough development process, yielding a deckhouse design that meets all technical and load requirements, including apertures,"
More at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3736454&c=SEA&s=TOP
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

House, Senate agree to add third DDG 1000
quote:

House and Senate defense lawmakers have agreed to fund the Navy’s third Zumwalt-class destroyer, according to an announcement late Tuesday, even as questions remained over how much the ship will finally cost and what capabilities it will have.

The national defense authorization bill, which seemed likely to pass both chambers and could go to President Bush as soon as this weekend, sets aside $2.5 billion for the ship known as DDG 1002, albeit “without prejudice to a Navy initiative for a possible return to DDG 51 production,”￾
For the rest, see http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/09/navy_zumwalt_auth_092408w/