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Document: Report to Congress on U.S. Destroyer Programs

The following is the Nov. 6, 2015 Congressional Research Service report, Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress.

  • RonD

    This boat is great that the tip up front is upside down. So the boat can barrel roll to sail low profile under a drawbridge without lifiting it up and snarling traffic. Nice idea.

  • Weaponeer

    The surface combatant force has certainly become a confused and conflicted mess in recent years, partly from evolving developments and partly from the disjunct nature of political economics.

    Lets start with the 155mm AGS. Good idea, wrong ship. It should have been the centrepiece of the LCS (and still could be) which is supposed to operate close to shore in permissive or protected environments. With a sizeable gun matched to the surface targets it needs to counter, it wouldn’t be in need of rework as a conventional style of frigate, perhaps little more than bolting down another SeaRam or other horizon-CIWS type defensive system. The DDG1000’s are far too valuable to bring close to shore, they should be shepherding the LCS’s from farther out amongst other roles for which the 57mm gun would be useful as a back up self defense weapon. Although it would not be cheap or easy to do, the two classes should swap guns; there would be no new technology required to be developed, and it would de-conflict roles and largely resolve the weakness of the LCS design and the contradictory equipping of the DDG-1000’s.

    The DDG-51’s are a fine general purpose destroyer design, but going cheap and over burdening the design will come back to haunt in the not too distant future. Opting for a smaller hull saves no real money at the start and always ends up costing dearly in the long run; hull size is only a modest part of the cost of a modern warship, unlike the situation a hundred years ago. With the 155mm guns removed from the DDG-1000’s and some rework of the structural arrangements with (again) no new technology, here you have a viable candidate to replace the CG-47’s. Which size of radar best suited to this CG-1003 class and other issues remain open here, what is important is finding a suitable replacement for the Aegis cruisers because there is no other ready candidate on the horizon and the air defence command function is key to battle group viability and it is needed far more urgently than more DDG-51’s. The electrical capacity and other features of the DDG-1000’s are the future of warship design, and they will be reasonably capable of accepting all foreseeable developments in weapons technology. More detail enhanced DDG-51’s (Flight IIb?) could be built in the interim, possibly swapping the Aegis Ashore equipment with the first of the AMDR systems so that fewer DDG-51’s are diverted to the inefficient use of these ships as BMD only platforms (another role conflict).

    After the new CG1003’s are in the works, a return to building a more conventional destroyer would follow. However, this time they get the pair of guns better suited to the present age of long range warfare, fixed vertical RAVEN vented and serial chamber gated guns in the 250mm-L100/254mm-L102 range built inside the superstructure amidships (admittedly requiring more hull design given the length of the cannons, but there is time to work out the details while the guns are under prototype development). Such a gun could not only shoot ~500lb projectiles out to 500-1000km, but also ~100lb munitions for use against the DF-21’s, tanks, fighters, and many other types of high value targets as well as a micro-satellite/drone needed for independent target acquisition out to ranges as great as 2500km. Although railguns and lasers may be on the horizon they aren’t here quite yet (and lasers will never likely become anything but short range weapons), and a big electomagnetic gun would be an unacceptably risky proposition for at least the near future; chemical propellant super long range guns were in use a hundred years ago, modern electronics make them a very attractive route for the least expensive long range precision strike. The rest of the destroyers’ outfit would follow the future state of electronics, missiles, guns, and lasers at that time.