Report to Congress on DDG(X)

December 14, 2021 11:15 AM

The following is the Dec. 9, 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 envisages procuring a class of next-generation guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) to replace the Navy’s Ticonderoga (CG-47) class Aegis cruisers and its older Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class Aegis destroyers. The Navy wants to procure the first DDG(X) in FY2028. The Navy’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $121.8 million in research and development funding for the program.


Since the 1980s, there has been substantial overlap in the size and capability of Navy cruisers and destroyers. In part for this reason, the Navy now refers to its cruisers and destroyers collectively as large surface combatants (LSCs).

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 Aegis Cruisers and Destroyers 

The Navy’s CG-47s and DDG-51s are commonly called Aegis cruisers and destroyers 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 Navy procured 27 CG-47s between FY1978 and FY1988. The ships entered service between 1983 and 1994. The first five, 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. The Navy’s FY2020 30-year shipbuilding plan projected that the remaining 22 CG-47s would be retired between FY2021 and FY2038.

The first DDG-51 class destroyer was procured in FY1985 and entered service in 1991. The Navy’s older DDG-51s, known as the Flight I/II DDG-51s, have an expected service life of 35 years. The Navy also operates three Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyers that are equipped with a combat system that is different than the Aegis system.

DDG(X) Program 

Program Designation

In the program designation DDG(X), the X means the precise design for the ship has not yet been determined.

Procurement Date for Lead Ship

As mentioned earlier, the Navy wants to procure the first DDG(X) in FY2028, though the date for procuring the first ship has changed before and could change again. Procurement of DDG-51s—the type of LSC currently being procured by the Navy—would end at about the time that DDG(X) procurement would begin.

Navy’s General Concept for the Ship

The Navy approved the top-level requirements (i.e., major required features) for the DDG(X) in December 2020. The Navy envisages the DDG(X) as having

  • a new hull design evolved from the DDG-51 and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer hull designs;
  • a next-generation integrated propulsion system (IPS) that incorporates lessons from the DDG-1000 IPS and the Navy’s new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine;
  • initially, combat system equipment similar to that installed on the Flight III version of the DDG-51 destroyer—the DDG-51 variant that the Navy is currently procuring; and
  • more weapon capacity than the DDG-51.

Download the document here.

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