Report to Congress on DDG(X)

February 16, 2021 9:43 AM

The following is the Feb. 11, 2021 Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Navy DDG(X) Future Large Surface Combatant Program: Background and Issues for Congress

From the report


The Navy’s DDG(X) program, also known as the Future Large Surface Combatant program or 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 DDG(X) around FY2028, although that date could change. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget requested $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 FY2022 funding request and emerging acquisition strategy for the program.


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 the 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.

Existing CG-47 Class Aegis Cruisers 

The Navy procured a total of 27 Ticonderoga (CG-47) class cruisers (one of which is shown in Figure 1) between FY1978 and FY1988. The ships entered service between 1983 and 1994. They are commonly called Aegis cruisers because they are equipped with the Aegis combat system, an integrated collection of sensors and weapons named for the mythical shield that defended Zeus. The first five ships in the class, which were built to an earlier technical standard, were judged by the Navy to be too expensive to modernize and were removed from service in 2004-2005, leaving the current force of 22 ships. The Navy’s FY2020 30-year shipbuilding plan projected that these 22 ships would reach the ends of their service lives and be retired between FY2021 and FY2038.

Download the document here.

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox