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CNO: Lessons from Zumwalt-class Key to Next Surface Combatant

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) steams in formation with USS Independence (LCS-2) and USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) on Dec. 8, 2016. US Navy Photo

CAPITOL HILL – Major parts from the Navy’s abbreviated class of Zumwalt destroyers (DDG-1000) will be integrated into the service’s program to replace the aging fleet of guided-missile cruisers, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said on Tuesday.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, Richardson said capabilities like the propulsion system and low observability to radars inherent in the Zumwalt design would be key to the future surface combatant.

“A centerpiece of the strategy going forward, which is to garner as many of the lessons learned and roll those into the new ship as quickly as possible. I’ll tell you, we are learning more lessons from Zumwalt every single day about the capability that ship brings,” Richardson said in response to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
“Whether it be power generation, the role of stealth, the volume that the ship brings, the capability of the ship to bring down very sensitive communications, et cetera… That’s exactly the types of lessons that I would look forward to rolling into the next ship.”

While the more-than-$24-billion program has been plagued with cost-overruns and production and delivery delays, the Navy sees the most promise in the 16,000-ton Zumwalt’s Integrated Power System. Instead of a direct mechanical connection to the drive shafts, the ship’s gas turbines drive an electrical grid that provides ship systems with an excess of electrical power — which would make it easier to add additional sensors and weapon systems in the future. The 75 megawatts of power the ship can generate is unheard-of in a non-nuclear hull. The Zumwalt design also has a wide margin for cooling and weight allowance to accommodate new systems.

Richardson told reporters following the hearing that the ability to swap sensors and weapons on and off the ship at speed is a major consideration for the program.

In the search for the replacement of the Ticonderoga-class, the service is using the same Requirements Evaluation Team process it did to develop its requirements for the FFG(X) next-generation frigate program.

“We actually took some of the work we’re doing with Future Surface Combatant and brought that back (to the FFG Requirements Evaluation Team); we said hey, the Future Surface Combatant is about where we’re going with the whole family of ships, so if we’re going to be producing an FFG of the future that’s going to be kind of at the small surface combatant size, then we don’t want that to be disconnected,” Navy director of surface warfare Rear Adm. Ron Boxall told USNI News in December.

Since then, Richardson told reporters after the hearing, the service has been working toward keeping the requirements for the next combatant fixed to reduce any churn that could lead to additional time on the front end of the program.

A decade ago, the Navy canceled its planned CG(X) next-generation cruiser program after a years-long requirements process that produced a design that was estimated to cost $6 billion a ship.

Cables running to one of two Advanced Induction Motors on USS Zumwalt. USNI News Photo

Cables running to one of two Advanced Induction Motors on USS Zumwalt. USNI News Photo

In a response to Collins on how the Navy would work to avoid the same problems General Dynamics Bath Iron Works struggled with moving from building Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51) to the Zumwalts, Richardson said the key was having stability on the front end of the process.

“It’s stability of requirements and stability of design that allows us to put together a program that meets the nation’s needs that is stable and predictable and then can be executed in a way that is a smooth and sails right through,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Richardson demurred on the question of whether the service would be using an existing parent design for the next generation combatant or move into a clean sheet design.

“I wouldn’t get too specific in terms of ‘hey is there a hull that exists out there;’ it’s more along the terms that there are lessons. Can we take advantage of what we know and what we’ve learned from Zumwalt and what we’ve learned from other programs, capture those lessons and get something down so that we can build it faster and take faster iterative steps as we go forward,” he said.
“Something like the hull, that’s going to last the life of the ship and there’s probably not a tremendous amount of knowledge that we’re going to gain in terms of ship hulls. So that should come together pretty quickly. Over the life of that ship, though, combat systems, weapon systems, sensors are going to modernize very fast, so you’re going to build that dual timeline in the platform from the start.”

  • Lazarus

    Why does the Navy need a cruiser replacement for the CG 47’s? Would it not be easier to build more DDG 51 flight III’s? Perhaps the real use of a replacement “cruiser” would be a vast electrical generation capability for the next generation of directed energy weapons? This article suggests a greater focus on the process for creating and building a cruiser design rather than what mission the proposed ship would accomplish.

    • robert richard

      DDG(X) & DDG-51
      CBO, in contrast, expects that the DDG(X) would have a largely new design and would be about 10 percent heavier than the DDG-51 Flight III. By 2030, when the first DDG(X) would be authorized under the current plan, the initial DDG-51 design would be about 50 years old. The Navy has made and will continue to make improvements to the DDG-51 class, as the plans for Flight III illustrate. Nevertheless, CBO considers it unlikely that a ship design from the late 1970s and early 1980s would prove robust enough to accommodate changes made to counter threats at sea until the 2070s and 2080s, when the DDG(X)s would be reaching the end of their notional 40-year service life. For example, the Navy has limited ability to improve the stealthiness of the DDG-51 class if it does not redesign the hull. If it does redesign the hull, it will, in effect, have created an entirely new ship. Under those assumptions, CBO projects the average cost of the DDG(X) at $3.3 billion, roughly

      You can’t keep making the same thing.

      • Bryan

        You’ve made a logic error. What changes to weapons that effect ships have come about that will make a particular DDG-51 hull sink faster? Pretty much none.

        Will the, “new” hull be more armored? What changes will be made? The answer? It will be BIGGER and A NEW TOY. That’s it. An illusion of progress.

        The DDG-51 hull is played out because they can’t continue to put, “Weight on it”. This is really a mission creep problem for the Navy. And it’s come about during two very real problems.

        Problem 1: Our cheap presence ships now have to be low capacity multi-mission vessels due to the proliferation of various weapons. We will need to give them, “Room to grow” because being able to survive one missile from Yemen is good but at some point they will just fire 3-5 missiles at us.

        Things we are not in control of are driving the low in our high/low mix to look like mini-Burkes.

        Problem 2: While the current President has given the military more money the underlying financial problems are not addressed. Meaning when it’s time to hollow out the larger more complex force during the next very debt laden recessions we will have even more problems than we do now.

        The obvious solution is to move towards the middle. Higher end/heavier frigate that is or can grow into a lower weight ddg. Break up the DDG mission. Remove BMD and Land Attack. Make both of them specialty ships. And because we’re broke don’t make too many BMD ships(that mission is not growing but shrinking) and make the land attack ships older, retired Burkes. We could play that game for decades before we even need to think about an arsenal ship concept.

        Do these kind of cost saving strategy make military planning a bit more complicated? Yes. But so is not crewing our ships properly because we’re broke.

        Sometimes leadership is making hard choices. World leadership is more about listening to our allies instead of telling.

        I’ll leave you with a summary: When under massive budget restraints the millage of our ships can be far more powerful than the efficiency of our VLS to hull size.

        • Curtis Conway

          I like your frigate solution, but the DDG-51 hull growth problem has to do with ‘displacement’ limitations and lack of space for growth. Adding 50′ to the same hull-form solves that problem, and provides room for growth (Double-Ender gun on the stern?). Might have to grow the beam a little bit to keep the proportion right, but it is doable. THIS is the ‘Bird in the Hand’, and . . . The Most Successful Surface Combatant On The Planet.

          • Bryan

            To be fair to the Navy there is only so much you can grow the Burke. Even with keeping the Length to Beam ratio the resistance of water stays the same. At some point the Navy will want to make a longer narrow bigger ship.

            The problem is, they want to do it in order to make an increasingly specialty radar common on their general purpose destroyer/cruiser. That is strategically, economically and tactically foolish.

            Making the BMD a specialty ship means I can use the Burke hull and strip it of all other missions. No ASW, no helo, no sonar. Just radar and missiles. This allows much more weight allowance in the superstructure. It allows much more room to place an upgraded propulsion below. It also allows us to avoid paying for a new hull or using a hull that is not only untested but uses software to overcome known stability problems with the hull form. Just like the LCS, AAG, EMALS, etc the Navy has shown that it’s risk reduction is essentially zero. Their choices are increasingly a danger to the budget, national security and our sailors safety. And no, I don’t believe that is overstated.

            Making adjustments for reduced vls and making sure EASR can pass off targeting as well as SPY-1 is important too. But ultimately the U.S. can save money on the one for one replacement of it’s Burkes. Save money on reduced manning of the smaller ship, save on maintenance and fuel. All good things for the Navy.

          • Curtis Conway

            “…a hull that is not only untested but uses software to overcome known stability problems with the hull form…” . . . I hope it gets a real life test in the Northern latitudes in heavy weather. You don’t get to pick your playground when ‘things go down’, or the ‘Bubble Goes Up’.

            “…making sure EASR can pass off targeting as well as SPY-1 is important too…” . . . this is mostly software integration, with just a little hardware, but very doable.

            Just don’t forget why the DDG-51 hull-frame is the shape that it is, and WHY.

        • Refguy

          What makes you think the BMD mission is shrinking? The threat is proliferating.

      • Curtis Conway

        The hull-form age problem is less of a problem. See my comment below Laz comment.

    • I agree that we probably don’t need a new cruiser (the Ticonderoga’s were never really cruisers anyways). But more Burkes is not the answer – its an inefficient 30 year old design that was always a little on the small side for what it was trying to do.

    • Duane

      Yes … requirements setting must begin with assigned roles. If all we need is to replace the Ticos, the ABs can do that easily.

      What will this new class of large surface combatants do, exactly, that an AB cannot already do?

      That is the key question.

      • Retired weps

        Many times you’ve said that the ‘LCS is better than an Arleigh Burke’ So are you now saying the LCS can take on the role of a cruiser, since your saying the Burke’s can replace the Tico’s? We’d all love to hear your explanation-sheesh!

    • Horn

      The current DDG hull is close to maxed out, if not already. The only reason Flight III is moving forward is because we’ve been able to miniturize better replacements for certain systems since the initial design. The Burke’s are out of room to grow.

      • publius_maximus_III

        Commercial passenger aircraft manufacturers have been using a “stretch” concept for years, whereby they take a proven design and splice in sections in front of and in back of the wings, maintaining balance about the wing seesaw, and all the important features at the middle and both ends of the aircraft left intact, while increasing the overall size (length). Why couldn’t something similar be done with a DDG hull?

        • Ziv Bnd

          It has already been done. They went from 8180 long tons to 9600 long tons, and they added a 4 foot plug to increase the LOA. The claim is that the Burke is maxed out.
          If the Burke class is truly near the full size that its hull can reasonably be expected to use effectively, then the only way to make it work as a cruiser would be to reduce the power requirements from the radar, sensor, electronic warfare and weapons systems that a cruiser requires to operate effectively.
          Not sure if that would work either.
          Or find a way to supply more electricity from an existing power plant, maybe? But propulsion turbines already 78,000 kW and the auxiliary power source is an additional 7,500 kW.

        • Curtis Conway

          Do you remember the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program. It is not like it has never been done before, though the naval engineers of today may not be up to the task.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          You bring up airliners, and not to get off subject, but I think they offer a realistic and cost effective fix for the Navy and other services (specifically the Air Force) to be able to provide massive offensive missile barrages.

          I’ve been saying for years now that if the military,
          especially the Navy, wants to always have land attack and perhaps anti-ship
          firepower on hand, develop an arsenal PLANE. It’s not a new concept. Back in
          the late 70s magazines like Aviation Week and Technology ran several articles
          on that. The idea was to have a number of wide-body planes that could be
          adapted to carrying lots of cruise missiles. Back then most mission profiles
          envisioned them attacking the USSR from its peripherals, with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. But the idea was to have
          some number of planes that could each launch dozens of cruise missiles.
          Candidate planes considered were the Lockheed L-1011, the McDonnell Douglas
          DC-10, and the Boeing 747. Military aircraft mentioned were the C-5 Galaxy, the
          C-130, and the C-141. Arms control treaty ramifications were as much a reason
          why they weren’t pursued as anything else. Or so it was stated.

          But the rationale for some such planes is a good one today. Ships can keep
          station for a long time in an area. But, if and when they should run out of
          offensive missiles, they obviously won’t be able to contribute to the missions
          that require them. While they can still perform other duties, the overall
          firepower that can be brought to bear on an enemy is diminished until they can
          re-arm, and that means a port call. The ‘arsenal planes’ (they were not
          referred to as that in the articles I mentioned) were to carry anywhere from 60
          to over 90 cruise missiles, depending on the plane chosen. That is one to two ship-borne cruise missile loads per plane. The turnaround advantages for
          the planes are obvious. Big planes like that can loiter for quite awhile, and
          even more so when refueled. But most important would be their ability to re-arm
          in a timely fashion. Having a quantity of such planes would permit full ‘coverage’
          at all times, weather allowing of course, but weather will also affect surface
          ship operations, so that comparison pretty much evens out. I think a quantity
          of 9 to maybe 17 such planes would be quite an asset to utilize. It’s a fix that shouldn’t take much time to implement, and costs would certainly be much lower than for a ship,

          • publius_maximus_III

            Interesting tangent, Bay Man.

            I think I’ve seen illustrations of a cargo plane (like the C-130) releasing a drogue-chute type pallet from its lowered loading ramp while in flight, I think a Daisy Cutter (forget the newer replacement “M” name) and maybe a Cruise Missile, too. However with KC-130T’s throwing blades and cutting themselves in two, maybe they’re not the best thing to be basing our future missile platforms on.

            Regardless, most wide-body commercial airliners do not have the ability to open in flight, either at the rear end like cargo planes, or underneath side (like a B-17), or on top like the Space Shuttle, do they? I think the DC-9 and B-727 both used to have an “Air Stair” that could lower from the rear center of the plane, a feature the infamous D.B. Copper used to parachute from with his loot somewhere over the Pacific NW. The FAA later required those planes to have external fins added which exerted enough aerodynamic torque on the door handle that it could no longer be opened in flight.

            Also, I don’t think anything in the air can hold a candle to the ability of a USN ship to remain on station (“loiter” as you put it) except maybe a drone, and even that would be comparing weeks to days.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Certainly some major modifications would have to be made to convert an airliner into such a contraption. The articles I referenced from decades ago actually provided some detailed illustrations of such. If memory serves the same kind of rotary launchers incorporated by the B-1 were envisioned for them. Those articles did favor commercial aircraft over the transports listed. A ship can loiter, but a wide body plane, especially if refueled in-flight, would have some staying power too. The biggest advantage of the plane vice the ship is that ability to re-arm so quickly. The limiting factor might be the number of cruise missiles and other munitions to stage at their bases. But given their range and loiter ability, even having to return stateside to re-arm is an evolution reduced to a few days at worse, and if there are multiple platforms available, coverage shouldn’t be lost other than when weather interferes. These planes won’t be penetrating enemy airspace, their weapons will allow them to remain well outside of both detection and weapons range. I would love to see a modern day, and realistic, cost analysis of such an approach.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I believe the Ticos have command and control facilities for an embarked commander, i.e., ‘flag spaces’. The Burkes do not provide for that at present.

        • Curtis Conway

          Exactly right.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Sure don’t want an Admiral exposed to undue dangers, like that skipper of the USS Fitzgerald, hanging on for dear life from the remains of his demolished “wing”.

    • sferrin

      It would have been easier to buy more F-4s than F-15s but then you run into things like Flankers, J-20s, etc. and that presents a problem. Using Flight III Burkes to replace the CG-47s isn’t the worst idea in the world, but it’s close.

      • Bryan

        I’d be curious what you see as the difference between Flight III and a new CG? How would that difference harm the U.S.?

        • Curtis Conway

          The comparison of aircraft analogies to surface warfare in water is only (roughly) comparable. Technology (combat system) and weapons capability is the big deal, not maneuverability. At sea energy and power available will be your big determiners in the future. Nuclear power solves a lot of those problems, but don’t see a new surface nuclear growth program on the horizon. It would make a lot of sense for DEWs in the future, but we are rapidly missing that implementation window, and RIGHT NOW would be the time to make THAT DECISION. I don’t see it happening.

          • Bryan

            While I hear what you are saying, we’re not there yet with directed energy. When we are an updated DDG might be in order. Or perhaps we could look in a different direction. When we are ready for a laser, no matter the hull it will be used for carrier defense first.

            Now what hull in a carrier group, now and more so in the future has excess electricity? Hmmmm….. yeah put it on the new carrier themselves.

            Before we trade up to a Nuke CG or something crazy let’s use the hulls we have appropriately. Then, if we still have the ability to print money, expand out to the smaller ships.

          • Curtis Conway

            I know the Ford is ready (or near). However, by the time you guys figure out that the new Icebreaker should have been a nuke, and that hull used for the new Nuclear Cruiser too, it will be near too late . . . IMHO.

    • Curtis Conway

      I never thought I would be saying this, but I agree with Lazarus.

      Last time I checked the ocean is still made of the same thing, and fluid dynamics like physics has not changed. Systems contained in the hull may change significantly over time with technological advances, but how a hull performs in the fluid is a given/known quantity. The DDG-51 hull-form design is that way for a reason, and one of the reasons why it is so successful. The only thing keeping Flt IIIs from being great Flag Ships is berthing limitations and Flag Spaces. The topside spaces might handle a Belknap type modification package.

      Concerning the Zumwalts, It appears the Navy is thinking in those directions already. Directed Energy Weapons will be a game changer but only with limited range for self-defense at the beginning when deployed. That superstructure will certainly hold a 69-RMA (or whichever) SPY-6. Personally, I would like to see one of the Zumwalts steam from US Coast Guard Station Kodiak to Halifax. Additionally, I would like to see some heavy weather in the North Pacific or North Atlantic for an extended period (if there are still mariners out there capable of such a feat). Our Captain was capable of it, and we wrung CG-47 out for the better part of two weeks in weather you never want to see. The US Navy knows EXACTLY what the CG-47 Class vessel can do, as opposed to what is a bit of a stretch in capability. Mk41 VLS solved most of our sea-state limitations (over Mk26 GMLS) in the class, but the DDG-51 Hull-form solved the rest of the problems (e.g., DDG-51 most capable w/r/t sea-state). Now it is time to see if that ‘tumblehome’ bow is really going to work in the real world.

      By the way, when the weather gets that bad, the LCS is toast, and there will be no one there to help in that sea-state. If you do not have US Navy Regulation Surface Combatant watertight integrity and compartmentalization . . . you will not make it. All of our HTs were constantly working night/day just trying to keep us afloat.

  • Duane

    The area air defense role of the Tico CGs can be assumed by the AEGIS equipped DDG51s without any significant loss of capability. Sure, the Ticos have more tubes, but those tubes are not necessarily the weapons of choice in the mid 21st century. Railguns and lasers can become dominant in the warships of the future.

    It will be very interesting to see what the Navy comes up with in requirements for the Future Surface Combatant program. Now that the DDG51s are beginning the last increment of hulls, and FFG(X) requirements will be fully set with award of the design build contract very soon, and the Ford class is in full production, FSC will be the next big warship design program.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    Combine the technology and materials, engineering plant, electrical systems etc. of the Zumwalt with the hull of the LPD-17 (with obvious changes, deletion of the well-deck, mast/superstructure modifications etc.) and you have the basis for a truly multirole, awesome next-gen cruiser. HII BMD Cruiser is basically what I’m talking about although I’m sure it could be made even better with utilization of Zumwalt tech.

    • Horn

      As much as this idea has merit, the hull and propulsion system would need a major redesign to get the ship up to 32+ knots required for escort duty. The missile payloads would also sit a lot higher off the waterline than you would want for a naval missile platform. Not a problem when you are talking about a 16 cell VLS, but a big deal when you are packing more than 7 times that payload.

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        Thanks for the imput and feedback — just for the record, Huntingdon Ingalls ( whom I have absolutely no connection to in the least, I find myself promoting them often simply because I really like not only their products (Navy ships) but also a lot of their concepts for ships etc. ) HII has already made several LPD-17 hull based concepts, including the BMD / multirole cruiser, and may or may not have actually mentioned their designs to Navy leadership years ago (like, “Hey we no you’re not looking for another CG(X) right now, but IF AND WHEN, we have something….) — I don’t know the specifics but they surely figured out all the stuff you mentioned. Simply deleting the well-deck of the LPD-17 and all the associated cargo , basically the entire Marine aspect (which do not forget- is ~700 fully-loaded combat Marines, + LCAC(s), LCU(s), AAVs, etc. All kinds of their trucks & trailers & transports etc. etc. etc. Plus it was designed to land, embark, & carry MV-22 Ospreys. So yeah, all that is gone. It makes a big difference in the weight of the ship & the entire construction/design internally. I 100% agree that it would not be something the current diesel propulsion plant would be able to handle but that is really not that big of a deal. HII spec’ed out their BMD cruiser with the weight and power to carry 3 30ft’ state-of-the-art radar arrays… 84 MW electricity, IPS gas turbines, etc. One of the articles from 2012 that spoke about this when they saw the model HII brought to an industry event said that the HII guys were saying they might be able to do like 276 VLS cells, utilizing both perimeter MK57s like the Zumwalt and traditional cell-farms like the DDG/CGs. …. so again I am not disagreeing with you, what you say is true, it’s just that it can be worked out and I am pretty sure they already have worked out. It seems like maybe the Navy is even hinting it because 2 different admirals recently said how the “next cruiser might not be a cruiser” and specifically how we’d probably see a hull reused etc. It’s either the Zumwalt or the LPD-17, as the Flight III DDG-51s have literally been maxed to the max. Anyway I am just a nobody Jack Sixpack, they ain’t gonna listen to me anyway lol.

        • Curtis Conway

          For a layman that’s a pretty fair analysis.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Thank you that made my day, thanks very much!

        • DaSaint

          It would in essence be a different hullform if they made all those mods. It needs to be able to keep pace in a CSG at 30 kts.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Not to be disrespectful but you do realize that significant- SIGNIFICANT — research, development, and deployment of composite materials were done & spent and even used on the Zumwalt class, and significant reductions were made because of cost, and that the third, the USS LBJ, is not being outfitted with even the watered-down composite materials & superstructure to save even more money? I didn’t just make up the idea that they should use “composite materials” — posters on this very site have mentioned how they spent a lot of time working on them back in the day, just to be able to build the original Zumwalt, and how they changed plans a bunch of times, and have continually made reductions and changes and modifications for money. And now, the USS LBJ is slated to be the most watered-down Zumwalt (vs. the USS JC, which was the most technological and up-tech’d & up-modded Seawolf)

          • DaSaint

            No disrespect taken at all. But I still have a preference for steel over aluminum and composites for ships. Aircraft fuselages, wings and blades are a different matter completely.

            I do acknowledge that advances in firefighting and fire suppression may make a considerable difference should a composite superstructure be hit by a large anti-ship missile, and I do acknowledge that stealth characteristics may be better over simply shaping metal, but I’m not sure that the costs, complexities in assembly, and survivability in battle overwhelm the risks and shortcomings. I’m just not sold yet. Maybe one day, but not tonight.

          • Alan Gideon

            DDG 1002 will have a steel superstructure, in contrast to the first two ships of the class.

        • Horn

          I honestly think the Navy needs to move towards commonality of design. Using the LPD hull for the LXR is one example. Maintaining the same propulsion plant for the ships means that you can swap sailors between the two designs. They should not go back to the Zumwalt design unless they can show that the hull can be mass produced within budget (which I highly doubt.) An LPD variant for a cruiser role could work, but you’d basically have to redesign a majority of the LPD. Hull shape, propulsion, ballast, compartmentalization, electrical, etc. A friend of mine worked at HII for 3 years. She said they normally do a feasability study on variants such as what you proposed, but the in-depth design isn’t done because they can get governments to pay for that labor when they sell the design. So when they say they can pack 276 VLS cells into the ship I believe them, but I would sincerely doubt that they have a semi-mature design with that in mind.

  • RunningBear

    ….duh….reclass Zummies as CGs!

    ps. remove AGS and replace with more MK 57 VLS modules

    ….Zummie Flt. II, replace gas turbine with micro-reactor

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Really that is a great solution. Especially if they built the thing with the radar it was supposed to have, the superstructure and composite materials they were supposed to have, and all the EW stuff they were supposed to have. A nuclear Zumwalt CGN with 100-200 VLS (and appropriate radar/EW etc.) would be literally a game-changer for our Carrier Strike Groups & Expeditionary Strike Groups/’up-gunned” Amphibious Ready Groups etc. hooyah.

      • DaSaint

        Have you seen composite materials burn, or been near the fumes generated?

        I’m in favor of a modified hull, but let’s stick to steel.

        • Curtis Conway

          Several of us kept asking for the ‘fire test results’. They never came, and the facility that builds those superstructures has been closed down. All of this superwizbang stuff was dreamed up by engineers who had NEVER been there and done that, and believed our sailors are expendable commodities. The mindset started showing its head right as the Peace Dividend was declared. I remember those discussions very clearly. “A hit bay a ASCM will be a write-off of the ship”. I remember hearing it SO MANY TIMES . . . even Laz and Duane have quoted it several times. Sad state of affairs, and shows you where their True Loyalties lie, and it Ain’t with the Sailors.

      • Bryan

        It was my impression that he ddg-1000 was severely top heavy now? Am I thinking of another ship? Can’t remember. Getting too old. LOL.

        If it is top heavy then the hull form being what it is will have a hard time taking more weight. i.e. more chance of rolling over and dying. Is the AMDR as originally envisioned lighter than the radar on the current ddg-1000?

        • USNVO

          The ship is far from top heavy, especially after they removed the SPY-4. During sea trials DDG1000 was immensely more stable than a CG-47 (13 degree heel at full speed full rudder turns is pretty amazing). Depending on the number of panels used, and the postulated cruiser version uses a lot more panels than DDG51 Flt III, the SPY-6 is probably heavier than a SPY-4 although you could make it weigh the same by using fewer panels. However, there are other issues.

          DDG1000/1001 have composite deckhouses. Well actually they are more like a giant enclosed antenna in that there are no manned spaces above the O-3 level and the composite section is O-4 and above. It is mostly empty spaces designed to reduce RCS. So changing the configuration is extremely expensive. Popping antennas on and off if they are the same size is a piece of cake, but making changes is really, really expensive. So beyond the potential impact on stability (and the hull form is much more sensitive to changes in KG (which seems to be translated by many people into the ships are unstable for some reason), it will also cost a fortune to rebuild the composite deckhouse. DDG-1002 has a steel deckhouse which is easy to change but has greater potential weight issues because you added a bunch of weight way up high (most likely because you didn’t have a SPY-4).

          Beyond that, a CG will require a lot more personnel on watch (command and control capability is the only real difference between a CG and a DDG) and that may stretch the ships capabilities in other areas.

          When it is all said and done you might as well just build the ship you want from the beginning using the lessons you learn from DDG-1000 and be done with it. It would be far better to leave the ships as DDGs, integrate SM-6 into the FC system, add a bunch of VL JSSM-ER/LRASM, change the barrels on the AGS so they can fire present and future long range guided versions of standard 155mm projectiles, add a VL version of the Army’s new ATACM replacement, and you have a great capability for a variety of missions.

  • D. Jones

    Bath Iron Works parent GD is the #1 contributor to Sen. Collins.

    How is this not a conflict of interest? What sort of oversight is this?

  • Curtis Conway

    In the picture, the most important vessel present is the one on the left, because it is defending everybody else.

    • DaSaint

      Amen to that!

    • Fred Gould

      The Zummwalt class reminds me of the 5 destroyer leaders constructed in the 50’s, test beds for revolutionary sensors and propulsion. Back in 70 I worked on the Michner, quite and improvement over the 2250’s.

    • Spawn_of_Santa

      Cold, man, that’s cold.

      • Curtis Conway

        Obvious and blatant TRUTH is what it is. Anyone trying to park the CG-47s should be considered with jaundice eyes, and get a re-investigation on their clearance, because they are working for the other side.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Hear, hear! Which is why the Ticonderoga-class cruiser is so key to our fleet and fleet formations, and the replacement (which until a few weeks ago wasn’t even spoken of in US Navy boss conversations and didn’t seemingly exist as a priority) is KEY. You hit the nail on the head…. Sad But True.

    • Real sailor

      If I was a crew on an LCS, I would never ever wear my baseball cap off the ship, especially in the company of real warships.

      • Curtis Conway

        Hey, every sailor should stand strong and serve their country well, regardless of what they serve on. G-d is in control and He will take care of our sailors, so serve our country and take care of our shipmates. Who knows, one of those 57mm guided projectiles, or a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) just might find its target. Then let us hope it is not one of those Russian ASCMs with all the armor around a real crowd pleaser of a warhead.

    • PeeDee59

      Yet the DDG-1000 is able to monitor far greater distances of surface & air and to not only engage with her own weapons but to remote access, load mission date & fire the missiles on the CG. The DDG-1000 is like a forward Command & control platform for ships just like the Air force has CnC aircraft that shares date & coordinates missions of other aircraft, etc…

      While I’m proud of the DDG, FF & FFG I’ve served on I also understand some of the generational leaps coming to the fleet…

      • Curtis Conway

        I hear you, and ‘There is nothing as constant as change, and there is always room for improvement’. However . . . the most important ship in the pricute ‘is the one on the Left’ . . . because it is protecting everyone else. We have to deal with REALITY TODAY, as we work on the promises of tomorrow, and it will continue to be so for over a decade. Bird in the Hand!!!

  • Leatherstocking

    Sorry, Zumwalt still looks like a 3D model Photoshopped into the picture.

  • Western

    The photo of the dirty, masking-tape labeled cables speaks volumes about the ship’s crew morale and engineering department leadership. The tape ends up clogging bilge pump filters, and the greasy cables invite more dust and debris impacting performance. Where is the chief in charge of that space?

    • USNVO

      I doubt that is a current picture since obviously none of the cables have metal tags attached to them yet.

  • RTColorado

    A nice bit of side stepping and fancy footwork on the part of the Admiral. Is he telling Congress “Yes, we’ve learned a lot from the Zumwalt that we can use” or is he saying “Yes, we’ve learned a lot from the Zumwalt and we won’t make those mistakes again” ? I’m not savvy enough to judge the merits of the Zumwalt…it looks cool is about all I can say…I know it costs too much and it sounds like it does too little and for as cool as it looks, it also looks fragile…so I’ll leave the technical good and bad up to commentators more skilled than me…but I know a good BS session when I see one…and that was superlative.

  • Jack D Ripper

    Suddenly its 1895

  • airider

    Just dust off the Spruance class plans. Fix all the areas that 30+ years of service have revealed need fixing, bring IPS aboard, and put the latest combat system goodies on it. We may not have a large surface combatant ship currently in production anywhere, but we have designs with known track records, and good performance we can readily leverage.

    The Spruance hull has room for growth (got Kidds and Ticos from it already) and the hydrodynamic efficiency of the Spruance class hull is well proven, and there’s no reason we can use it again.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well, lesson one is obviously make sure the WEAPONS work and are provided for! And have some sort of fall back position to get some use and utility out of them if the magical, exotic system developed comes up short!

  • Curtis Conway

    Rebuilding the four remaining retired CG-47s should be considered. Less expensive when compared to building new ones. Get HII to quote a new Cruiser for you today!