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Bath Iron Works Will Build First Flight III Arleigh Burke DDG

An artist's conception of the AMDR AN/SPY-6(v) radar onboard an Arleigh Burke Flight III guided missile destroyer (DDG-51). Raytheon Image

An artist’s conception of the AMDR AN/SPY-6(v) radar onboard an Arleigh Burke Flight III guided missile destroyer (DDG-51). Raytheon Image

The first Flight III Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer will be built at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, according to a Sunday statement from the Navy to USNI News.

Last week, the Navy issued a pre-solicitation notice on FedBizOpps stating the service intended to issue a Request for Proposal to Bath Iron Works for a Burke DDG “and associated supplies and services which are anticipated to be delivered in the Flight III configuration,” read the notice.

The ship will feature the first operational installation of the Raytheon AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) – an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that promises to be 30 times more powerful than the AN/SPY-1 air search radar on the current Flight IIA Burkes.

The first Flight III will be the third DDG funded in 2016 following $1 billion Congress set aside for the third hull in last year’s defense bill. The service had intended to build two destroyers in 2016 but the additional funds Congress included prompted the Navy to ask for an additional $433 million in its Fiscal Year 2017 unfunded requirements list to complete the third 2016 hull.

“We’re budgeted for two Flight IIAs plus one Flight III mod. We awarded two Flight IIAs and we still have the balance of funding for the Flight III mod. And now we’re waiting to get this additional FY 16 ship in hand in a timely manner to award the ECP for this [third] ship,” Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition told USNI News following an April 7 hearing before the Senate armed services seapower committee.
“If we can’t get this ship in a timely manner then we’ll have to modify one of the two that are already under contract.”

Prior to the pre-solicitation, both Bath and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) had been working on the detailed design work for the Flight III. The configuration will be built by both shipbuilders.

Naval Sea Systems Command Image

Naval Sea Systems Command Image

In addition to the SPY-6, the changes to the design will increase the power available on the ship by three Rolls Royce 3-megawatt generators on the Flight IIA ships with Rolls Royce’s 4-megawatt generator in the same footprint on the ship.

The electrical grid on the ship will also be upgraded from the 450-volt configuration to a 4,160-volt grid which will lead to additional design changes.

Bath getting the extra Fiscal Year 2016 ship was part of a so-called “swap agreement” between HII and Bath, the Navy said.

“The Navy intends to award the third FY16 DDG 51 ship to Bath Iron Works. This corresponds to the December 2015 long lead time material contract award for LPD 28 to Huntington Ingalls and would be in addition to the currently contracted multiyear ships, subject to congressional authorization and appropriation,” read the Navy statement.

In a Saturday statement Maine Senators Angus King and Susan Collins said, “there is no workforce in the world better positioned to build the first of the Navy’s upgraded destroyers, which will help ensure that the strength of our Navy’s capabilities remain unrivaled.”

The following is the complete Sunday Navy statement on the Flight III program.

In support of the Navy’s plans to introduce Flight III capability in 2016, the Navy issued a pre-solicitation notice for a third DDG 51 ship in FY16, which the Navy intends to deliver in the Flight III configuration. Congress has appropriated approximately $1B towards this additional ship and provided incremental funding authority, thus allowing the Navy to start the process to award the third FY16 ship in advance of receipt of the balance of funds required ($433M identified in the Unfunded Priorities List).

As previously stated, consistent with the “swap agreement,” the Navy intends to award the third FY16 DDG 51 ship to Bath Iron Works. This corresponds to the December 2015 long lead time material contract award for LPD 28 to Huntington Ingalls and would be in addition to the currently contracted multiyear ships, subject to congressional authorization and appropriation.

  • DaSaint

    And does anyone really feel that HII won’t get all the LPDs despite the ‘competition’ with NASSCO.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      It’s more about leveraging the competition to keep them honest rather than a true competition. Both shipyards need to stay aggressive to get the work, but they’d have to screw up pretty bad to actually alter the build locations.

      • DaSaint

        Agreed, but real competition from a yard that can actually do the work is required.

  • RobM1981

    Are the Flight III’s Electric Drive, or just generating more power for future weapons? Or both?

    • @USS_Fallujah

      Just 3 more MWs of power to run the AMDR and increased cooling requirements that come with it.

    • Secundius

      Possibly a BAE 32-MJ Rail-Gun…

    • NavySubNuke

      I don’t believe they are changing the drive – it will still be gas turbines as far as I know. As USS Fallujah said the extra power will be used for the AMDR.
      The real question is if the 3MW of extra power will be enough — hopefully they leave space to pull those generators and the AC plant out without a major hull cut so they can be replaced with newer more powerful generators/AC equipment in the future to power things like rail guns or to further improve AMDR performance.

      • Curtis Conway

        The 4160v system upgrade and greater generation capacity is part of that. The Railgun will have a Capacitor bank. The Flt IIIs will not have the HED units from the Flt IIAs due to room in the Main Propulsion Spaces. If I understood the program office correctly, I believe a different shaped electric motor for the MRG is possible in the future, but the current design just didn’t fit the new spaces in Flt III. Waiting anxiously.

        • NavySubNuke

          What does the 4160v buy you – less transmission losses?

          • Curtis Conway

            A medium voltage system is an electrical power transmission method that is probably the best compromise short of having a perfect world which does not exist. The step down to 480v 3-phase has less impact on the rest of the system even with heavy usage (lights dimming on electric motor start), enabling soft-starts and running large horsepower motors resulting on less impact on the electrical distribution system. There is always the battle between current and voltage. Line loss is less, higher efficiency in transmission with lower heat generation, resulting in greater safety.

            Since the electrical formulas work the way they do medium voltage is a happy medium providing sufficient electrical energy to work with additional heavy loads we experience aboard ship (high voltage motors vs resistance loads). Electrical power distribution system is modified to handle the lower current loads making distribution much more reliable and creating less heat (resistance).

            In a Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) setup two way transmission enables the use of the electric propulsion motor to be used as a generator. When at General Quarters (GQ) the gas turbine Prime Mover is the primary power source operating at maximum efficiency, and greater use of electrical power is needed by the future Directed Energy Weapons and Railgun. Discharge of these devices are through a capacitor banks where the energy is stored and ready for use.

            There are some cost down sides immediately after the conversion decision is made. Cost may be more at program startup when the conversion decision is made, but the overall long-term operational and maintenance costs are less, with less heat, greater reliability, and resulting in greater safety. This change has been discussed in the US Navy for decades. With the advent of the greater power needs for future energy hungry weapons one could argue we have waited a little too long. I salute the US Navy’s decision to convert to 4160v on our surface combatants, carriers and amphibs.

      • TheAviationist

        I doubt they will add rail fund in the flight III, there is simply not enough room in the hull to store the generators and copacitors needed to store energy. If there is a flight IV however it may be possible if the hulls are at least 10% larger. In general the navy needs a new cruiser that is built to acomadte future upgrades better then the Alriegh Burke was.

        • Secundius

          Not a Problem, BAE 32MJ Rail Guns are to be used. Not the “Generally Atonic” 64MJ Rail Guns…

          • TheAviationist

            Well the issue I see is not the size of the gun, but more of the energy storage. Both guns use a very similar power source, so even if you switched out the actual gun you would still need roughly the same space for storage.

          • Secundius

            Projectile Size Too!/? Projectile Size for the 64MJ Railgun is ~26% Larger then the Projectile used in EITHER the 32MJ or 20MJ Railgun…

          • TheAviationist

            Really, I thought they both used a round equivalent to a 155mm?

          • Secundius

            The Aperture (Bore) is 155mm for the 64MJ Railgun, But Actual Projectile Diameter in ~26% that of the 155mm Bore Diameter. The 32MJ and 20MJ Railgun BOTH have the Same Bore Size of ~100mm, actual Projectile is Said be 1-inch in diameter…

          • TheAviationist

            And what does that have to do with energy storage when they both use up very similar amounts of energy? Size is one thing, and I was talking overall size, but that dosent exactly relate to energy storage.

          • Secundius

            For the General Atomics 155mm Railgun, Energy Storage Capacitors will have to be used. For the BAe 100mm Railgun, Depends on Engine Configuration. Four Gas Turbines for the 32MJ Railgun and Two Gas Turbines for the 20MJ Railguns. Capacitors Won’t be needed for the Smaller Railguns. Eventually a Proposed and Still Under Development “Dedicated” Small Fusion Reactor is suppose to Supply Power to the Railguns system. I’ll Believe it when I Actually See a Working Model of One! Last One “Broke”…

        • Rexford L

          just drop a 100 ft section into the middle of the hull.. make them 609 ft long and keep them 66 ft wide.. problem solved. (and with that, you can make them nuclear powered if you wish)

          • TheAviationist

            I don’t see why the hull can’t be lengthen at all as I mentioned earlier, but installing a nuclear reactors in ships being produced en masses like the Alriegh is just far to expensive, which is why only Nimitz and ford class carriers retain nuclear power plants. (There is a few in comprising)

          • Rexford L

            True, but California class and Virginia class were nuclear powered.

          • TheAviationist

            Yeah but their not as much as a liability as a surface combatant, so the US would rather not risk it.

          • Rexford L

            I mean the Nuclear cruisers, not the submarines.. we had about a dozen nuke cruisers from the 60s till the mid 90s.

          • Secundius

            DOZENS? I’m Only Aware of “Nine”!
            1. CGN-9, Long Beach
            2. CGN-25, Bainbridge
            3. CGN-35, Truxtun
            4. CGN-36, California
            5. CGN-37, South Carolina
            6. CGN-38, Virginia
            7. CGN-39, Texas
            8. CGN-40, Mississippi
            9. CGN-41, Arkansas
            What were the others???

  • Sam Culper III

    The Burke Flight III’s are pretty much at the the limit in terms of what upgrades can be incorporated into the ship. We need to start to think about and design a new destroyer to replace the Burkes. It takes much too long from design to build military equipment now days. The Burkes are great ships, but the Navy needs a new destroyer design with more capacity for growth. The Zumwalts, in it’s current form, are too expensive and not necessary for land attack destroyers, but instead of a whole new destroyer design, maybe we can use it’s features for a new air defense and attack destroyer and cruiser. We spent so much money on R&D for only three Zumwalt ships. The Zumwalt’s basic design has plenty of room for upgrades to replace both the Burkes and Ticonderoga cruisers.

    • Secundius

      There’s a Possibility of a Reactive Armor Applica to be Applied to US Surface Combatants called SHARK (System HARd Kill) made by IBD Deisenroth Engineering of Germany. A Very Lightweight Composite Armor. With Possible usage on Arleigh Burke’s, Tico’s and BOTH LCS classes and Upgrade Armor to M1A3 Abrams and Stryker’s…

    • Greg Lof

      Well, frankly as currently designed, the Burke Flight III is likely going to be another disaster, as the design has not enough reserve displacement to handle those design changes that will surely be required. This is the same mistake that plague the LCS Fight I over the years. And many other classes of warships over the centuries. The Navy must insist on enlarging the Flight III hulls a minimum of 12 percent to handle the required changes.

  • John B. Morgen

    Two additional CIWS should have been added for amidships; both port and starboard for maximum coverage protection. However, the Navy should start thinking about enlarging the [Burke] design into a cruiser [frigate] size warship; and cancel any further Admiral Zumwalts.

    • Secundius

      There’ a Possibility that the 25mm Auto Cannons on the Mk. 38 Gun Mounts. Are to be Replaced with 40x255mmR/70-caliber Auto Cannons. With a Cyclic Rate of Fire of ~200rpm’s and a Maximum Range of 5,000-meters. Worth Noting, New Gun System are Side Loading for Easier Reloading…

      • TheAviationist

        I agree with both of you. Missiles systems have become so advanced today it should be mandatory for an increase of APS systems. Also the threat of small vessels requires for find more effective then the M242 to eliminate them.

  • Matthew Schilling

    I think we keep seeing anecdotal evidence that Russian EW really is “eye watering” and America is scrambling to compensate and catch up. God help us. I think we will see the radars on our existing inventory of Arleighs upgraded as quickly as possible.
    I believe we will see the Next Gen Jammer fast tracked until it arrives online sooner than any current estimates.
    Next up, reality will rule again – we cannot, and therefore will not, spend hundreds of billions on mediocre jets woefully “armed” with a handful of missiles incapable of burning through EW.

    • TheAviationist

      Truth be told the US actually holds the advantage in EW at this moment, the Russians have just caught up to us and now we are scrambling to get the edge that we lacked previously or maintain to it a point were the US has a difinitive advantage.

  • Andrew Doolittle

    So from peace we are now going to fight the Chinese AND the Russians simultaneously….using “a Navy.”

    How does the (dumb) Russian move into the Crimea the (dumber) Chinese move to cut off its own trade routes in the South China Sea impact the USA?

    Seems like we’re winning if we do absolutely nothing to me.

    Instead we seemed to have morphed into Tojo/Hitler and haven’t used our “stop the nonsense” authority very well.

    God forbid if we go from merely APPEARING weak to actually being so.

    The whole point of deterrence is to prevent the War in the first place I thought.

    Next up: a nice game of Space Invaders I imagine…

    • Secundius

      Define “PEACE”?
      Current US Military Conflicts/Wars:
      1. War in North-West Pakistan, 2004 – Ongoing
      2. War on ISIL (Operation “Inherent Resolve”), 2014 – Ongoing
      3. War in Afghanistan Part II, 2015 – Ongoing

  • os2casey

    Ok, I’ve been out of the Navy for quite a while and reading all of these comments have been enlightening as to the current state of the Navy. My concern is it seems that we do not really have any focus on surface warfare anymore. China and Russia have missle systems designed to specifically kill Burkes and carriers. I don’t see us developing any replacement to the Harpoon or increasing load out of them on either Burkes or Zumwalt’s. Am I missing something here? Does the navy still see China as a non-threat in blue water? Air power is not the sole answer. If they can kill a carrier, you have no air support. If our only surface weapon is out performed by their weapons, we would be on the losing side of an open ocean naval battle.