Overview of Future Large Surface Combatant (DDG Next) Program

January 14, 2021 10:22 AM

The following is the Jan. 12, 2021 Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Navy Future Large Surface Combatant (LSC) (DDG Next)
Program: Background and Issues for Congress

From the report

The Navy’s Future Large Surface Combatant (LSC) program, also known as the DDG Next program, envisages procuring a class of next-generation guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) to replace the Navy’s aging Ticonderoga (CG-47) class Aegis cruisers. The Navy wants to procure the first Future LSC around FY2028, although that date could change. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget requests $46.5 million in research and development (R&D) funding for the program in one R&D line item and some additional funding for the program in another R&D line item.

The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2021 funding request and emerging acquisition strategy for the program. Congress’s decisions on this issue could affect future Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.


Decades ago, the Navy’s cruisers were considerably larger and more capable than its destroyers. In the years after World War II, however, the Navy’s cruiser designs in general became smaller while its destroyer designs in general became larger. As a result, since the 1980s there has been substantial overlap in size and capability of Navy cruisers and destroyers. The Navy’s new Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyers, in fact, are considerably larger than the Navy’s cruisers. In part for this reason, the Navy now refers to its cruisers and destroyers collectively as large surface combatants (LSCs), and distinguishes these ships from the Navy’s small surface combatants (SSCs), the term the Navy now uses to refer collectively to its frigates, Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), mine warfare ships, and patrol craft.

Surface Combatant Industrial Base 

All LSCs procured for the Navy since FY1985 have been built at General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works (GD/BIW) of Bath, ME, and Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are major contractors for Navy surface ship combat system equipment. The surface combatant base also includes hundreds of additional component and material supplier firms.

Download the document here.

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