Home » Education Legislation » Navy Battle Force Tally Dips By 2, After New Ship-Counting Rules Postpone Zumwalt Destroyers


Navy Battle Force Tally Dips By 2, After New Ship-Counting Rules Postpone Zumwalt Destroyers

The U.S. Navy’s newest warship, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) passes Coronado bridge on its way to Naval Base San Diego. Zumwalt is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission destroyers, now homeported in San Diego. US Navy photo.

This post has been updated to include an Aug. 22 statement by the Navy.

When the president signed the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act last week, most of the contents of the 788 pages of legislation would take some time to go into effect.

But one thing happened right away: the Navy’s count of deployable battle force ships dropped by two.

The 2019 defense authorization bill clarifies what lawmakers tried to do two years ago related to Navy ship-counting, making clear that a ship cannot be included in the Naval Vessel Register’s list of battle force ships until it has been fully delivered to the Navy – and in the case of ships with a phased delivery, where the Navy takes custody of the hull but adds in the combat system or electronics later, that means the final delivery date.

So, upon passage of the bill, Zumwalt-class destroyers USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and yet-to-be commissioned Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) were taken off the battle force ship count and will not be added back on until they complete a combat system activation in San Diego.

In the FY 2017 NDAA, lawmakers stated that the Navy should “deem ship delivery to occur at the completion of the final phase of construction,” and that all materials submitted to congressional committees should use that format, rather than including an earlier partial-delivery date.

A basic argument for the change is that a ship without a combat system could not be deployed if a conflict broke out, and in that sense does not meet the Naval Vessel Register’s criteria of being “a commissioned United States Ship warship capable of contributing to combat operations” or a “United States Naval Ship that contributes directly to Navy warfighting or support missions.”

Crewmembers assigned to USS Constitution prepare to perform a color guard detail at the christening ceremony for guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) in the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in 2016. US Navy Photo

For lawmakers, the need to use a final delivery date instead of a partial delivery date also contributes to program oversight and accountability.

“The committee notes that justification materials, which accompanied the President’s fiscal year 2016 and 2017 budgets, as well as Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports for the CVN-78 class aircraft carrier program, list the delivery date of USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) as June 2022. However, the Navy plans to deliver this ship in two phases. Phase I delivery, scheduled to complete in June 2022, will deliver the ship with full propulsion capability, aircraft launch and recovery systems, and safe to sail navigation systems. Phase II delivery, scheduled to complete in September 2024, will add the remaining electronics and ordnance equipment, including the Ship Self-Defense System, weapons systems, and Enterprise Air Search Radar. The committee believes CVN-79 delivery should be deemed to occur at the end of Phase II delivery,” according to the Senate report that accompanied the FY 2017 NDAA.

“Similarly, the committee understands all three ships in the Zumwalt-class will employ a dual delivery approach with hull, mechanical, and electrical (HM&E) systems delivery at the shipbuilder in Maine and combat systems activation in California. In the case of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), HM&E delivery is scheduled for 2016 and combat systems activation is scheduled for 2018. The committee notes the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget lists April 2016 as the delivery date. The committee believes Zumwalt-class delivery should be deemed to occur at the completion of the dual delivery approach, following combat systems activation,” the report continued.
“The committee is concerned the variance in the Navy’s definition of ship delivery may obscure oversight of the program’s schedule, including whether or not a project has breached its threshold delivery date. The committee is also concerned Navy ships are being delivered in various degrees of completion and then, after a period of availabilities and shakedowns, possibly several years later, the ship is delivered to the fleet for operations. CVN-79 and the Zumwalt-class programs illustrate this practice.”

After the 2017 language became law, the Navy was required to use the full delivery date when reporting to Congress, but it was still entering ships – namely Zumwalt and Michael Monsoor – into the Naval Vessel Register upon HM&E delivery rather than final delivery. This year’s FY 2019 bill put a stop to that practice, forcing the Navy to only add ships to the Naval Vessel Register’s list of battle force ships upon final delivery, when the ship is actually capable of contributing to fleet combat operations.

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas told USNI News on Aug. 22 that “the Navy worked closely with Congress as the FY 2019 NDAA was being developed to ensure accurate characterization of the Zumwalt Class of ships (DDG 1000, DDG 1001, and DDG 1002) and CVN-79 and how these ships will be treated in the battle force count. Given the unique ‘phased-delivery’ of these four ships, the Navy will place them in a special status to reflect preliminary acceptance by the Navy from the shipbuilder, and then on completion of the mission systems and final delivery the Navy will count them in the battle force.”

Destroyer Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) underway during trials. BIW Photo

Zumwalt delivered to the Navy in May 2016 and was commissioned that October. It arrived in San Diego in December 2016 to begin its combat system activation, which is about an 18-month process. The destroyer will be homeported in San Diego once the activation process ends – which should happen any time now – and the ship joins the fleet.

Monsoor was delivered to the Navy in April but is still at the Bath Iron Works yard in Maine following revelations that the main turbine engine needed to be replaced after engine blades were damaged during the ship’s acceptance trials. Once that engine work is done, the ship will sail to San Diego sometime this fall to begin its own combat system activation early next year.

  • Kypros

    When fully armed, these ships had damn well be effective, because they sure are hard to look at…..

    • proudrino

      Not if you are a submariner. All their ships look like this. :0

      • vetww2

        LOVE it. My old friend Capt. Bob Ripley (ASW type) used to say,”Only if the sonar is down.”
        I say, “If there are no periscope and snorkel LTAs or sattelite trackers.”

    • GW

      I think they look awesome.

      • RobM1981

        I like the look, but looks really don’t matter if the hull isn’t seaworthy. I’m still concerned about how well they will handle any kind of serious sea, never mind gale. I’m sure that they are learning…

        • Lazarus

          DDG 1000 is seaworthy. The accusations that it’s tumblehome Hull is not seaworthy is just more uninformed internet gossip.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The reasons there are concerns are based on historical data, and naval professionals are expressing them. It’s a fact that ‘tumblehome’ hulls were ‘all the rage’ a FEW GENERATIONS AGO, and they remained popular for decades, but the navies that operated them (specifically, the French and Russians) got rid of them pretty quickly after some unsatisfactory traits were revealed in them. So the ‘concerns’ mentioned above have merit. However, I am confident that the Navy’s testing has or at least alleviate those concerns. I am also confident that more common sense went into them than was expended on the LCS.

          • Lazarus

            The reason the French and Russians built ships with extreme tumblehome was that it was believed such ships were more stable gun platforms. The fact that those nations did not operate those ships well; did not maintain material condition and had poor damage control skills should not detract from the initial idea of why tumblehome hulls were adopted. They went away due to the increase in size and design of capital ships. The hull form returned for purposes of stealth. Losses of French and Russian ships due to crew incompetence a century ago have nothing to do with a new USN design for stealth.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            It was ‘believed’? Well, given what ‘hit’ them, that went out the window, along with the hull form itself, didn’t it? A ‘more stable gun platform’ didn’t allow them to get the jump on their opponents, did it? Thus, the HULL FORM was considered a failure. I am amazed at the excuses you and yours will routinely regurgitate on here. It was TRIED, extensively. It DIDN’T work. Everyone moved on. Now here we are living that old expression “What goes around, comes around!”. I hope the ship performs as advertised. But there are LEGITIMATE reasons based on HISTORIC data for concerns to be expressed about it..Placing desires for stealth over possible sea keeping trade-offs involves questions that MUST be asked. It is prudent to do so.

            OK?

          • vetww2

            RADAR cross section was VERY important 30 years ago. Now, with satellite wake track, accurate to 2 feet, Biolumenesce track (above the 40th parallel), it is very low. The wacky, no bridge, tumblehome, light armament design, is absurd as well as absurdly expensive. What we need is a hull by hul,l non age considered, current ship SLEP evaluation, with a follow-up plan upgrading plan to maintain an up-to-date, effective Navy.

          • Jeffrey Bohemier

            Not only is this hull seaworthy, in actuality, it’s much LESS vulnerable to high winds and high sea states. And for those who haven’t seen this ship slicing through the water, the bow wake is far less than that of an traditional hull. If I were to be in heavy seas on a combatant, this is definitely the ship I would want to be on. I just hope the advanced electronics are as successful as the ship’s hull. Regardless, 3 ships hardly constitutes a class of warships. They may be expensive, but the lead ship in any class generally is. And the fact that only 3 were ordered raised the price significantly higher. The Navy is in dire need of purchasing more platforms…in configurations OTHER THAN Arleigh Burk Destroyers. We’ve got enough of those already. We need a new class of FFG’s. And the Ticonderoga Class cruisers are nearing the end of their projected life span. It’s time our Navy get to building more combatants to replace these older and decommissioned ships. The Navy is but a shell of the former Navy we had back in the 80’s and early 90’s. The Navy was butchered starting with the Presidency of Bush (Senior), following the first Iraq war (Desert Storm). Navy ships are currently being deployed well past what was considered to be a standard deployment of 6 months out, 18 months at home port (that doesn’t mean sitting at the pier, as training and workups occurs during this time as well as ship yard availabilities). Now we’re deploying our ships for 9 months to a year while only giving them 1 year at their home port. This hurts retention of our sailors and is especially hard on those with families. There’s only 2 ways to fix this…build more ships, or reduce our commitments overseas.

          • vetww2

            TALK FACTS. There were 14 in the original buy, but we successfully got it cut to 3 after the rollover. These were the ones that already had their keels laid down. The rest of your entry is of mixed validity. It makes you sound like a shipyard salesman.

          • vetww2

            TO BE NICE, DREAMER. Check the TURNING TANK data from DTNSRDC of 2006, and see if yiu repeat your uninformed statement. How do you think we got the buy cut from 14 to 3? (the keels already laid)

      • jack anderson

        me too, but still suffering from sticker shock

    • Duane

      Traditionalists hate change.

      Just like “real sailors” hated steam powered ships in the 19th century. The same crowd hated the ironclad Monitors too. To be a “real ship” a vessel had to have masts and sails, and be made of wood.

      By the beginning of the 20th century the wooden sailing ships were long gone, and “real ships”, according to the traditionalists, had to be bristling with turrets and ever larger great yawning gun tubes. But by the end of the 20th century all those big guns and turrets were gone, replaced by flush mount and deck mount missile launchers and big radar sensors.

      30-50 years from today warships are going to be as different from today’s ships as today’s ships are from those of 30-50 years ago.

      • vetww2

        Duane, I love you for your confident statements. Let’s look at some facts on “changes” in the last ioo years,
        SPEED– Aircraft- 100 mph to 2500 mph
        Tanks 5 mph to 80 mph
        Cars 26 mph to 85 mph
        Subs 5 mph to 45 mph
        warships 31 mph to 31 mph

        • It’s funny you bring up speed since every here constantly criticisms LCS for its improvements in that area.

          Also, all of your numbers are totally inaccurate. Here’s some better ones:

          Fighter Aircraft: 140 mph to 1300 mph (both with weapons)
          Tanks: 5 mph to 45 mph
          Cars: 45 mph to 170 mph
          Capital Ships: 21 knots to 35 knots (24 to 40 mph)
          Fast Warships: 30 knots to 45 knots (35 to 52 mph)
          Submarines: 15 knots to 35 knots (17 to 40 mph)

          • vetww2

            Typhon-41 knots, LCS claimed. I’m a hydrofoil and SES man so I stand corrected to 65 kts. F-35 Mach 2 (~2600 mph, I drove an M-i at 62mph (you are correct). What Capital ships? Carriers ~40 kts. You are correct, I just dashed off the numbers. They are much more impressive plotted.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Much of the criticism of the LCS is generated by the problems that the speed requirements have wrought. To achieve the advertised speeds, they have an overly complicated power plant and propulsion system that their crews are having extreme difficulties keeping up with. When they ‘make speed’ they consume fuel in large amounts. Many have questioned that speed requirement from the get-go, in anticipation of the very problems they are encountering now.

  • Lazarus

    Seems a bit much to suggest a ship does not count because a combat system hasn’t been fully tested. Dozens of ships in shipyard overhauls then also should not count.

    • Graeme Rymill

      “LCS surface warfare module is operating with the fleet now and needs no further ‘testing.’ ”
      “According to Captain Ted Zobel, program manager for the LCS Mission Module Program (PMS 420), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) was fitted with a surface warfare (SuW) mission package including SSMM in August 2017. “We have missiles on LCS 5 today ready to take the test,” he told an audience at the Surface Navy Association annual symposium on 11 January [2018]. “When LCS 5 completes her PSA [post-shakedown availability], as part of her CSSQT [Combat System Ship
      Qualification Trials] SSMM will commence and execute the first part of the DT [development test] regime for that programme in the April/May timeframe. After that, we will pull the MECS [missile exhaust containment structure] out of LCS 5 [and] we’ll put it in LCS 7 [USS Detroit]. We’ll take LCS 7 through the remainder of the DT/OT [developmental test/operational test] and TECHEVAL [technical evaluation] regime, and LCS 7 should deploy with this capability sometime next year [2019].”

      It sounds to me like testing of this part of the surface warfare module is ongoing for the remainder of 2018.

      • Lazarus

        The interim LCS SUW module exists now. The modules were meant to be in constant change as well suggesting that there will always be some bureaucratically motivated ‘test’ program.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Constant change? It’s taken a decade plus to field the current module increments. In fact – we’re still waiting on MCM and ASW.

          We’re very likely going to see LCS seaframes leave service before the next increments field.

          • Duane

            ASW is nearly complete – IOC in FY 2019, which begins in just over one month. MCM has completed development and performance testing for more than half of the many systems that make up the full module, and testing and integration will be completed on the rest by the end of FY2020, in time to begin retiring our existing minesweepers with a far greater and safer capability.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            IOC for the ASW MP is planned for 4QFY19, but I would bet it slips.

            You miss the larger point. LCS-1 was commissioned in 2008. It took over a decade to get any ASW capability on any LCS. Why should we expect constant updates?

          • Lazarus

            You keep pushing that false meme about commission date and service of an experimental platform, There were only 2 LCS until late 2012 and only 4 until late 2015. The program was in effect paused with no work done for two years. Criticisms are fine but you really need to stop making up false statements about the LCS program.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Laz, you do not get to rewrite history to suit your argument! Exactly what part of my statement is false?

            LCS-1 was commissioned in September 2008. That is a fact.

            LCS was paused for two years because the program was completely screwed up. Flunking a grade in school does not stop time.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “by the end of FY2020, in time to begin retiring our existing minesweepers”
            The ability to neutralize “near surface” mines will not be available till FY2024 at the earliest. This capability is reliant on the successful development of the Barracuda mine neutralization system. If Iran was to mine the Persian Gulf with drifting mines the LCS with the MCM would have, as of “end of FY2020”, the ability to locate these mines but no ability to destroy them.

          • Lazarus

            Thanks to a Congress and in particular a Senate Armed Services Committee that sabotages the module testing program funding every year! No LCS sea frames are going out of service anytime soon.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Ah yes. I forgot. It’s always someone else’s fault.

            LCS would have been a rousing success… if it wasn’t for Congress / DOT&E / GAO / the laws of physics.

        • PolicyWonk

          Constant change? Like your excuses and increasingly bizarre explanations/blame-storming regarding all things LCS? 😀

          They haven’t gotten the original mission modules right, and by the most optimistic estimates, they still won’t be ready for years.

          The “artist” is right: a significant portion of the LCS fleet will be on the way to the scrapyard before the mission modules are truly ready.

          • Duane

            BS

          • Lazarus

            Please again state what actual naval experience you have before making outrageous statements.

        • Graeme Rymill

          “The interim LCS SUW module exists now” – I presume you are referring to the two 30mm cannon that makes up the Gun Mission module plus the 57mm gun that is a core capability for all LCS. I suggest to you that this interim weaponry is, by itself, insufficient for surface warfare tasks. The Hellfire Surface-to-Surface Missile module is essential for any meaningful surface warfare task. The poor results in tests against swarming fast attack boats in 2015-2016 provide striking evidence for the need for Hellfire on the SuW LCS.

      • vetww2

        GOL DING IT! There you go with factual data. Cut it out. It kills the romance of the navy,

    • DaSaint

      Not fully tested? They leave Bath without their primary combat system! It gets installed in San Diego. Is that hard to understand? They’re not combat capable, so should not be counted. Sounds reasonable to me, unless you want to send them in harm’s way without their combat system.

    • Bubblehead

      The USN is still counting the Tic’s in deep overhaul as combat ready ships. Its a numbers game, not reality.

    • Al L.

      A warship without a completed combat system has not proven useful at any level. A warship in overhaul has most definitely been useful or it wouldn’t be overhauled. Depending on the stage and level of the overhaul it is possible to return it to use at a formerly useful state in a timely manner. Its impossible to return a so far useless ship to a useful state.

      That being said it would make the most sense to only count those ships which could be materially ready in a reasonable amount of time to prepare for war, say 90 days. This would be an approximation, but it would be less arbitrary.

      That standard would certainly exclude DDG-1000 which is only 8 months into an estimated 18 month process.

      • Duane

        There is little effective difference between a warship in shipyard overhaul and a new construction ship awaiting installation of its battle gear. Neither ship can engage in battle. At least the new construction ship can still go to sea and do real sea training, which the ship in overhaul cannot do at all.

        This entire discussion is merely one of worthless semantics. No new construction ship ever immediately deploys right after delivery. There is always a ton of work to do with installing gear, testing, training, shakedown cruises and post shakedown availabilities, shock testing, etc. The whole process from delivery to first deployment consumes on average 2 to 3 years.

      • vetww2

        A warship without a combat system is called a YACHT.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      A temporary overhaul is not the same as never having had the combat systems tested.

      As an aside: I’ve been reviewing some of the original LCS briefs from early 2000s which state emphatically that a complete LCS system requires both the seaframe AND its modules.

      The narrative seems to have changed now that the modules are years behind and vastly less capable. Interesting.

      • Lazarus

        15 years ago was a different situation and Great Power competition not considered. The navy has rightly decided to change some elements of the LCS program. Would you prefer the service drive on as if it were still 2003 or are you such an entrenched creature of the acquisition system that you cannot see outside its boundaries? For people like you the system is more important than the products it creates.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          No. I would prefer the Navy actually think about what it’s doing before it starts building ships. This clearly was not done with LCS.

          Change some elements? You mean minor things like CONOPS, manning and completely abandoning modularity? And halting production at 30+ units vice 50+?

      • vetww2

        You might enjoy some of my earlier posts.

  • proudrino

    “But one thing happened right away: the Navy’s count of deployable battle force ships dropped by two.”

    Oh! What a scandal! Two ships, far form being deployable, were dropped from the count if deployable battle force ships. Is it going to be Maxine Waters or John Lewis that introduces articles of impeachment over this?

    • PolicyWonk

      Given recent events, they probably won’t have to…

      • proudrino

        Dream on. It’s all you people have in your arsenal and it is pathetic. I rememember a time when the party in opposition actually worked for Americans not for their party leaders and unhinged fringe groups. Another time. Another era.

        • Cato

          Would that be when at Obama’s first state of the union address a republican congressman shouted “you lie” (falsely) at a sitting president or republican leaders (with exception of Senator McCain) refused to stand up to unhinged fringe groups who accused Obama of being a Kenyan or Muslim?
          Respectfully yours.

          • Donald Carey

            There are respected psychologists who say that, for religion, what a child learns in their first few years never goes away. If they are correct, Obama IS, at least partly, Muslim. (Consider his remark about how beautiful the Call to Prayer is to him, for instance, plus the difference between how Christian refugees and Muslim refugees were treated by his administration and you should see my point.)

          • vetww2

            FACT, I quote a young lady from Kenya, who looked after my terminally ill wife. “Everybody in Kenya knows that he was born here. His grandmother even described his birth, His brother. too.” He, himself caled himself, “the first Kenyan American president, i make no claim. I only present information that you can check, if you are not biased.

          • Cato

            Double hearsay from an unnamed source is not evidence of anything other than a desire to deny the truth and resilience of fringe groups like birthers in today’s age.
            I’ll stick with a birth certificate from the state in which he was born.

            Respectfully yours.

        • PolicyWonk

          Sure – being implicated in knowingly committing federal crimes and participating/leading in the cover-up isn’t about “you people”, unless you’re one of the cultists who buys into the BRAVO SIERRA being shoveled out of the White House.

          This is about committing crimes, and the American legal system. Remember the good old days when the GOP was about “law and order”?

          I sure do, because that’s how I voted before the GOP was taken over by the crackpot fringe.

        • vetww2

          PITY!

  • 1Templar

    There is overhaul and additions coming to the Navy ASAP. Both Zumwalt destroyers scheduled to be home ported in San Diego… Thank goodness we have woken up.

  • ElmCityAle

    What are those two cute bumps on the forecastle of the Zumwalt ships – hood ornaments? Hope the navy didn’t pay much for them.

  • Marc

    I thought ships didn’t count as “Battle Force” ships until they completed their Fitting Out Availability (FOA), and reported to their Type Commander! When did Delivery to the Navy become the criteria? And ships in overhaul being counted as Battle Force Ships, when did that also change from a special category. So an active fleet ship that is in a scheduled C-4 CASREPT condition counts as a “Battle Force Ship Ready to go In Harms Way” if the call came?

  • johnbull

    Semi-serious question; given that their advanced gun system is useless for lack of ammunition, can they truly be deployed and useful warships until they actually have guns that can shoot?

    • Duane

      80 cells of VLS loaded with Tomahawks, SM 2, 3 and 6, ESSM, and (pretty soon) LRASM ain’t nuthin. Plus ASW systems, aircraft, etc.

      • ElmCityAle

        Indeed, but all of those weapons will require integration into the brand new combat management system that will be used on those ships. I would not be surprised if that takes several more years.

        • Duane

          Just as integrating LRASM on existing DDDGs and CGs will take a few years. And retrofitting DDGs with AEGIS Baseline 9 will take a few years. And putting F-35Cs on CVNs. Etc. etc.

          Nobody expects war with China to break out this year or next. All ships, weapons, sensors, networked comms, ECM, etc. are a constant work in progress. Every new capability that we’ll have a decade from now will take a finite time to deploy in the interim … in years … to develop, install, test, integrate, and train.

          Criticizing a ship type because it doesn’t deploy today what it will deploy in 2 or 4 years from now is imbecilic thinking
          .. yet all too common in the comment pages of USNI.

          Too many USNI commenters are like whiny little impatient children in the back seat of the family minivan, crying “aren’t we THERE yet, Daddy?!”

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane. Three quick questions for you:

            1. When was LCS-1 commissioned?

            2. How many LCS can currently conduct ASW operations?

            3. How many LCS can currently conduct MCM operations?

          • Lazarus

            Look Mr. former MPA aviator; have you ever bothered to look at the actual timeline for the LCS program? Do you get that the program was paused for two years, had its CONOPS and manning scheme changed twice, and is forced to re-test every piece of a module’s equipment any time one piece is changed? It is not as easy as your simple maritime patrol airplane that used an existing air frame as the basis for its construction. Your credibility on surface warfare issues is scant at best.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Every delay you site (CONOPS changes, manning change, two-year program pause, repeated testing) are attributable to poor requirements analysis and program (mis)management.

            These were not “random accidents”. Nor was LCS the victim of some sinister cabal. They were the result of OPNAV and NAVSEA rushing into production and not thinking through whether what they wanted wrt LCS was actually achievable!

            RE: P-8A, you’ve again exhibited that when it comes to to any program besides LCS, you simply don’t know what you are talking about. And seem unwilling to learn

            I would once again urge you to do some research. Read the MMA Capability Based Assessment (CBA) from circa 2004. OPNAV looked at a wide array of potential solutions before settling on a fixed-wing aircraft. The 737 option was eventually chosen after the AoA largely BECAUSE it was low risk.

            You also seem to view the selection of high-risk / low TRL concepts for LCS as a foregone conclusion. Not true. LCS was a concept at one point. The solution to fill that concpet could have been any number of things.

            Had the Navy done it’s homework, and examined the pros, cons and risks of its intended approach before starting design, it might’ve selected a very different concept – and we might not be having this conversation.

  • thebard3

    Old cost figures are that these 3 ships cost $7.5B apiece. If only they had a gun….

    • Duane

      They still have an 80 cell VLS, and in a few years they will deploy the first railguns.

      Closer to $4B on the first ship and around $3.5B for the 2nd and 3rd ships.

      These are very big ships, much bigger than any of our Ticos or DDGs, slightly bigger than even the WW2 era heavy cruisers, just under 15,000 tons displacement. You pay for ships by the ton, everything else being equal. Where the Zums really shine, though, is low operating costs, with a crew complement (147) less than half the size of a Tico. The people part is always the most expensive part of operating a warship.

      • thebard3

        Why does your number conveniently exclude the R&D costs? I’ll believe there’s a railgun on there when I see one on there (that works). I’ll believe the low operating costs, when the navy sees the benefit of having more than three of them and how economical they are. I am convinced they will never be deployed with anything other than conventional weapon systems, and corresponding crew size. You’re just repeating the same nebulous guarantees that brought us 32, uh I mean 24, uh, I mean 7, uh I mean 3 of these things.

        • Duane

          The crew size is fully determined by design, and will not change. Crew constitutes more than half of the operating costs of any current ship, but ships like the Zums and LCS and unmanned ships are already changing the calc.

          The $4B cost of DDG1000 includes the R&D for the type, the 2nd and 3rd ships are quite a bit cheaper.

          Railguns are generic weapons, not designated only for the Zums … also projected to go on the Ford CVNs, which have the necessary electrical power … all of the “Future Surface Combatant” series of ships will also have power for railguns.

          • thebard3

            The Zumwalts were designed to carry the LRLAP. The Navy will find some kind of weapon to put on there, but the railgun you mention does not exist. See the following report: w w w . e s d .whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Reading%20Room/Selected_Acquisition_Reports/16-F-0402_DOC_67_DDG_1000_DEC_2015_SAR.pdf (remove the spaces) which clearly shows the sunk R&D cost of over $9B and overall program cost of over $22B as of FY 2017. This number will not go down. The costs you quote are incorrect by a wide margin. I question your assertions regarding crew size and operating costs accordingly.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    So if it has a ‘combat system’ installed, it’s ‘deployable’? Even if other aspects f the ship doesn’t work? They mention the new “Kennedy”, but what about the Ford? How about the 2 Burkes undergoing major repairs because of the tragic collisions they suffered? This sounds like another example of BS political gamesmanship..

  • vincedc

    potato tomato…nothing really changes

  • vetww2

    Let’s hope that we have a complete redesign instead of “Old Flopover”

  • BudgetGeek

    Changing the methodology for counting ships, AGAIN!? How can anyone have faith in those charged with leading our national defense (in either branch of government) when they have demonstrated time and again they cannot even agree on how to count. Go back and watch the vampire guy on Sesame Street.

  • Robbie Roberts

    The shape and form of the future surface combatant, but these ships will be useful only as a self contained battle force with experimental or trial systems and weapons. It would be nice to see them in actual service, even if they become just arsenal ships that can be parked off an unfriendly shore with several hundred cruise missiles on board to send a clear message.

  • Colin F

    Please keep in mind that foreign intelligence services read these blogs and comments as well and to mask your identities and also not reveal too much that you might know which may not be general knowledge. A lot of intelligence is in fact gleaned from open sources.

  • sway21

    Government math dictates that we’ll build three of a ship class which should have been terminated at one, for the cost savings involved of course. That would be fully in keeping with the new LCS tradition, where the failure of the design concept was only eclipsed by the disappearance of need for the design. We’re building more LCS, which is a ship without a mission or a means of achieving a mission, to keep the shipyards open, which we could do more economically were we to just pay shipyard workers to stay home.

    The LCS is never going to be a blue water combatant and it’s unlikely we could even force the Coast Guard to accept the platform for its uses. The DDG-1000 class, once its gun was eliminated, becomes a design exercise for a mission which no longer exists. We know the ship is dynamically unstable for it cannot be anything else with its combination of dead rise, tumblehome, and reverse raked bow. Aside from the bow’s inherent tendency to bury itself in seas-which can and will lead to exposed props and rudders, the vessel suffers from a high KG, a low CB, and an early dissipation of righting moment upon what would be considered operational levels of hull inclination. It’s a coastal design hull, at best. No one has yet explained of what use is a stealth profile on a ship using radar. (The only way to remediate what will be a tender ship hull form like the DDG-1000 will be to add significant ballast to it, which will stiffen it at the cost of a highly decreased rolling period, which is the type of thing that separates guns, radars, and even boilers, from their mounts.)

    Both classes of ships are designed for reduced manning as compared to similar classes of naval vessel, though they’ll never prove the efficacy of such plans because of the radical design nature of the ships for their imagined missions. Had DDG-1000 been designed as a replacement for the Burke-class it’s reduced manning aspects could be better evaluated. As it is, both LCS and DDG-1000 vessels now carry additional personnel, unplanned for, just to keep them functioning during their periodic breakdowns.

    The battle force tally shouldn’t be reduced by two, but by fourteen, or whatever number the LCS ships add to it. Both classes are marina queens, best off not leaving the dock, where it can be pretended they’re naval warships.

  • Michael James Gudat

    The U S Navy is guilty of Voodoo ship counting to hide their total incompetent bungling of the useless Zumwalt destroyer class of three of the most expensive useless U S Navy ships. These ships cost billions and can not be used as their main gun armament they were designed around are flat out useless due to U S Navy incompetent bungling .
    These three ships might as well be relegated to target towing tugs because they are FK all useless as shore support destroyers their intended use The U S Navy is fully to blame and heads need to roll because of this corrupt totally wasteful charade. There are some U S Navy people that need to be FIRED and thrown out of the navy NOW