by Christopher Hellman [contact information]
Cancellation of the Navy's DDG-1000 "Zumwalt" Destroyer Program
July 25, 2008
Rendering of the DDG-1000 (Northrop Grumman).
On July 22, news broke that the Navy had decided to terminate its DDG-1000 destroyer program. The story was first broken in the July 14 edition of Inside the Navy, which was published online July 11. Formerly known as "DD(X)," the vessel is intended to perform a land-attack/fire-support mission for the Navy. While the program originally included 16 to 24 vessels (and possibly as many as 30), the current requirement has shrunk to just seven ships. According to the Department of Defense, the total value of the program is roughly $29 billion.
The Navy announced the DDG-1000 program on November 1, 2001 as the follow-on to the D-21 destroyer development program that was part of the Future Surface Combatant Program begun by the Navy in the late 1990s. The FSC program was intended to develop a new family of surface combatants: the DD(X) destroyer for long-range strike and naval fire-support missions; the CG(X) cruiser for air defense and ballistic missile missions; and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a smaller vessel for anti-submarine warfare, engaging small enemy vessels, and mine-sweeping.
On April 7, 2006, the Navy announced that it had redesignated the DD(X) program as the DDG-1000 program, and that the first ship in the class would be named the Zumwalt, in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt.
The Navy's current plans call for a surface combatant fleet of 313 ships, including 88 cruisers and destroyers and 55 LCSs. The 88 cruisers and destroyers are to include 7 DDG-1000s, 19 CG(X) cruisers, and 62 older Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers.
The Navy originally planned to acquire 16 to 24 DDG-1000s. Navy officials later testified to Congress in 2005 that their requirement had dropped to between eight to 12 ships. In February 2006 the Navy's planned procurement of DDG-1000s was cut to just seven vessels. The Navy plans to procure all seven DDG-1000s by the end of FY2013.
The first two ships of the class are being constructed by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works (one apiece). Under the Navy's most recent procurement plan, the two contractors would compete on construction contracts for the remaining five ships in the class with the winner building three and the loser the other two.
PROGRAM COSTS & FUNDING TO DATE
According to the Defense Department, the total program cost of the DDG-1000 program is $28.9 billion dollars for seven vessels, a "per unit" cost of more than $4.1 billion. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Navy has spent $10 billion on the program to date, with $3.4 billion allocated for the current fiscal year (FY2008) to fund the procurement of two ships. In February 2008, the Pentagon requested an additional $3.2 billion for the program for FY2009 for the procurement of one ship.
SPECIAL FEATURES & TECHNOLOGIES
Reduced Crew Size -- The DDG-1000 is intended to reduce crew sizes in order to save on operating costs. Projected crew size is estimated at 142, as compared to the current 276 to 278 for the DDG-51 destroyer and 364 for the CG-47 cruiser.
New Hull Design -- The ship's design includes a wave-piercing hull intended to reduce its detectability.
"Stealth" Construction -- The ship's superstructure relies heavily on the use of composite materials instead of steel and other metals to reduce its radar signature.
Weapons -- The DDG-1000 has an updated vertical launch missile system (VLS) and can provide heavy fire support with two 155mm guns (Advanced Gun System).
Electric-Drive Propulsion -- The ship is powered by electric motors, rather than the traditional propeller shafts driven by turbine-diesel engines, intended to provide a more efficient, quieter propulsion system.
RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
House -- The House version of the FY2009 defense authorization bill (H.R. 5658), recommends eliminating the Navy's $2.5 billion procurement request for DDG-1000, and increasing the Navy's FY2009 request for advanced procurement funding from $51 million to $400 million. According to the bill, the $400 million is to be used either for construction of DDG-1000s or for restarting construction of DGG-51 "Arleigh Burke" destroyers. The full House passed H.R. 5658 on May 22. (See the Center's analysis here)
Senate -- The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its report (S. Rept. 110-335) to accompany its version of the FY2009 Defense Authorization bill (S. 3001), fully funds the Navy's FY2009 requests for procurement and advance procurement funding for the DDG-1000 program. The full Senate has not yet acted on this legislation. (See the Center's analysis here)
Christopher Hellman is the Military Policy Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where his work focuses on national security spending, military planning and policy, trends in the defense industry, global military spending, and homeland security. Hellman is a frequent media commentator on these issues. Previously, Hellman worked for the Center for Defense Information, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and spent ten years as a congressional staffer working on national security and foreign policy issues.