USS Zumwalt Mississippi Homeport Shift, Hypersonic Missile Upgrade Delayed Due to Repairs

July 31, 2023 5:21 PM
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) leaving San Diego, Calif., on July 27, 2023. Photo Used with Permission

Guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is under repair in San Diego after a planned relocation to Mississippi was interrupted by a maintenance issue, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News. The ship initially left on Thursday before for Ingalls Shipbuilding to undergo the installation of a new hypersonic missile system before it came back to port, Navy officials told USNI News.

Ship spotters photographed the crew manning the rails of Zumwalt while departing San Diego for HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

“USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)… will shift its homeport from San Diego to Pascagoula, Mississippi to enter a modernization period and receive technology upgrades including the integration of the Conventional Prompt Strike weapons system,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson said.
“The upgrades will ensure Zumwalt remains one of the most technologically advanced and lethal ships in the U.S. Navy.”

The Navy did not specify the casualty when asked by USNI News. On its initial transit to the West Coast in 2016, Zumwalt was sidelined due to an engineering fault and had to be repaired in Panama. 

Once at Ingalls, the ship’s twin 155mm Advanced Gun Systems will be removed, and the Navy will install four 87-inch missile tubes that will contain the Common Hypersonic Glide Bodies (C-HGB). USNI News understands each tube will contain three missiles for a total of 12 missiles per Zumwalt. The Navy plans to upgrade the other two ships in the class – USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) and Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) at Ingalls, USNI News previously reported.

Navy officials would not say when Zumwalt was anticipated to arrive at the Mississippi yard, but USNI News understands the ship will be there by the end of August.

The Navy determined putting the long-range conventional prompt strike weapons on the three Zumwalts would be the fastest way to integrate hypersonic weapons. Service officials plan to have Zumwalt ready to deploy with the weapons by 2025. The C-HGB is being developed as a joint program between the Navy and the Army. The Navy also plans to field the weapon in the Virginia Payload Module in the Block V Virginia-class attack submarines by 2029.

While the service is planning to field the weapon on the Zumwalts in the next two years, the Government Accountability Office questioned the timeline of the service fielding the hypersonic weapons due to testing delays of the C-HGB.

“If the hypersonic weapon is not ready for integration on the DDG 1000 at the time of the aforementioned maintenance period, the Navy may have to extend the duration of the planned maintenance period or wait for the next scheduled period to incorporate the system on the ship,” reads the June report.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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