DDG-1000 discussion thread


New Member
The Zumwalt-class destroyer, if built, would become the most advanced destroyer in the world by far, and quite possibly the most advanced combat ship. It is sad that the Navy wants to cancel it.

Lets talk about the capabilities and the roles of the Zumwalt-class. Please post any interesting links that you know. If they become operational, what kind of improvements would they make on the overall capabilities of the US Navy? I heard Zumwalt-class is intended to replace the Iowa-class battleships.
Last edited:


Junior Member
I just found this article:

Missile Threat Helped Drive DDG Cut
Zumwalt Class Could Not Down Chinese Weapons
By christopher p. cavas
Published: 4 August 2008

The threat posed by a super-secret new Chinese ballistic missile is among the factors driving the U.S. Navy's decision to "truncate" the planned seven-ship DDG 1000 Zumwalt class of advanced destroyers and build more DDG 51-class ships.
After years of planning, U.S. Navy leaders have announced plans to end the Zumwalt class at two ships.

Navy officials say the primary advantage of DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class ships equipped with the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system is that they can shoot down ballistic missiles - a capability the Navy never asked for in its high-technology and high-priced Zumwalts and its new Raytheon-developed combat system.

A program to upgrade 15 existing DDG 51 destroyers, along with three Aegis cruisers, will be complete by year's end. But the new missile threat is causing combatant commanders - the "cocoms" who lead regional commands such as U.S. Pacific Command and European Command - to demand more ships that can handle ballistic missile defense (BMD). The Navy's solution is to drastically reduce the number of Zumwalts to two ships that critics say will be simply technology demonstrators.

"The DDG 1000 … is incapable of conducting ballistic missile defense," Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, deputy chief of naval operations for Integration of Resources and Capabilities, told Congress July 31 during a hearing called to address the destroyer issue.

McCullough, in his written testimony, also revealed that the DDG 1000 cannot perform area air defense - the ability to shoot down enemy planes and missiles over a wide region. The Zumwalts, McCullough said, "cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6."

The SM-2 is the Navy's primary air defense missile, and Raytheon is developing the SM-6 replacement. The SM-3 is a BMD missile.

A Navy source said the ships could carry and launch Standard missiles, but the DDG 1000 combat system can't guide those missiles onward to a target.

The new information contrasts with a DDG 1000 briefing provided this spring by the Naval Sea Systems Command, which listed Standard missiles as among the Zumwalt's weapons, and with well-known sources such as Jane's Fighting Ships, which lists the new ships as carrying the SM-2 missile.

BMD Issue Grew

The BMD issue gained prominence with Navy planners over the winter as intelligence assessments described the new threat. McCullough, in response to a question at the hearing by the House Seapower subcommittee, said work to rejigger the destroyer program began "four and a half to five months" ago, making it late February or early March.

Although a "secret, classified" threat was discussed during the hearing, neither Navy officials nor lawmakers would reveal any details.

One source familiar with the classified briefing said that while anti-ship cruise missiles and other threats were known to exist, "those aren't the worst." The new threat, which "didn't exist a couple years ago," is a "land-launched ballistic missile that converts to a cruise missile."

Other sources confirmed that a new, classified missile threat is being briefed at very high levels. One admiral, said another source, was told his ships should simply "stay away. There are no options."

Information on the new threat remains closely held.

"There's really little unclassified information about this stuff," said Paul Giarra, a defense consultant in McLean, Va., "except for the considerable amount of information that's appeared in unclassified Chinese sources."

Several experts on Chinese missiles contacted for this story said they weren't sure which specific threat drove the Navy to change its destroyer plans. One source speculated it might be "Threat D, a cruise missile that separates to a supersonic missile." A Chinese ballistic missile with terminal radar-homing capabilities - "a carrier killer" - is another possibility.

Retired Rear Adm. Eric Vadon, a consultant on East Asian defense affairs, thought the weapon sounded like a Dong Feng 21 (DF-21) missile, also known by its western designation CSS-5. Although the basic missile has been in service since the 1970s, the Chinese are known to be working to turn it into a homing ballistic missile.

"There's a possibility that what we're seeing is that somebody is calling this thing a cruise missile because it has some of those characteristics," Vadon said. "It maneuvers and it homes in. But a cruise missile breathes air."

The Chinese targetable ballistic missile threat has long worried U.S. Navy planners and military professionals.

"We're pretty certain the Chinese have been working on this for some time," said Bernard Cole, a professor at National Defense University in Washington and an expert on the Chinese military. "It would pose a threat. I don't know how you would counter that missile."

But Cole said the description of a ballistic missile turning into a cruise missile is new: "I've never heard this described this way."

Sources in the Pentagon said the U.S. Navy has not yet moved to add the BMD upgrade to any more existing Aegis ships. But a senior defense official confirmed the Navy is embracing BMD as a mission for Aegis surface combatants - and that all the new DDG 51s the Navy is asking for will be BMD-capable.

McCullough also said that the destroyer modernization program, which will start in 2011 with the oldest ships, will include signal processors "with inherent ballistic missile defense capability." Those electronics will make the ships more easily upgradeable should the service choose to add the BMD upgrade.

Even if the Pentagon and Congress approve the request to build more DDG 51s, the new ships won't start to come on line until at last 2015, estimated Eric Labs of the Congressional Budget Office, who also testified at the July 31 hearing.

A Controversial Move

Navy leaders received permission July 22 to ask the Pentagon to build only two DDG 1000s and instead ask for at least nine more DDG 51s. While observers have known for months that support for the DDG 1000 program inside the Navy was weak, the move nevertheless surprised Raytheon, which is developing the combat system and numerous subsystems for the Zumwalts, and a number of lawmakers who support the DDG 1000 program.

"Wow. We're turning on a dime," Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., a former Navy vice admiral, said July 31 about the Navy's decision to halt DDG 1000 construction. "Where's the analysis, the strategic thought, the studies, and the cost studies that will show: is this really the way to go, or is there a different change or a better approach? I don't think we've seen those."

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., ranking member of the Seapower subcommittee and a former chairman, noted that he supported the Zumwalt program when the understanding was that the design's new tumblehome hull would be used in the follow-on CG(X) cruiser. Now, although the Navy has not revealed any details of an analysis of alternatives being conducted for the CG(X), Bartlett said the new ship will likely not have the new hull.

"I feel a little bit 'had' now when I'm told that the hull will probably not be used in CG(X)," Bartlett said.

Navy officials have been reluctant to explain the program shift publicly. Although senior Navy leaders began briefing Congress July 22, no press conferences have been held and no official statements released. And while McCullough and Allison Stiller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs, appeared at the July 31 hearing, they declined to speak with the media afterward, instead hurrying to a waiting van which sped off before the doors closed.


Quite a good amount of info can be found in the DD(X) thread on this board.

It seems the navy's decission to cancel the programm after two ships is quite definite. The Zumwalts' were to drasticly increase the power projection capability ashore. Delivering a heavy puch inland close to the shore while being difficult to spot.
Therefore, to a certain extent they reintroduce a capability that was lost with the retirement of the Iowas. But they are certainly not a real replacement. In combination with the LCS, they'll be of great help to landing marines I guess. But with just two ships, naval bombardment is not that intense.
However, at sea fleet defence against BM threats seems to have become much more important, something Burkes / Ticos and especially a future ABM CG(X) probably serve better.


VIP Professional
McCullough, in his written testimony, also revealed that the DDG 1000 cannot perform area air defense - the ability to shoot down enemy planes and missiles over a wide region. The Zumwalts, McCullough said, "cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6."

The Zumwalt Class Destroyer is equipped with AN/SPY-3 radar and 20 x Mk. 57 VLS modules right? Isn't it designed to carry the SM-2MR?

The USN has over 60 DDG-51's, it's a successful and proven design. I think they're just not convinced of the DDG-1000's value.
Last edited:



The Zumwalt Class Destroyer is equipped with AN/SPY-3 radar and 20 x Mk. 57 VLS modules right? Isn't it designed to carry the SM-2MR?

The USN has over 60 DDG-51's, it's a successful and proven design. I think they're just not convinced of the DDG-1000's value.
When I first saw the statements Zumwalts cannot do proper BMD, I thought because their BMS was not optimized for that. But I always believed the radar can of course guide SAMs.
Now seeing reporst saying it was canceled because the ships cannot properly use Raytheon produced Standard Missiles with a combat system provided by Raytheon makes me wonder what's going on there.


Senior Member
Do the designers even talk to one another any more?

While, you could have a Arleigh Burke babysit the DDG-1000, but that sort of defeats the whole purpose of the ship.


Senior Member
There were a number of problems with the design that are extremely difficult to overcome that were the result of how radical the design was. The big problem was that they changed everything in one go. They wanted new weapons, new electronics, new machinery, new crew levels, new hull design. Everything was new, everything was a major break with past practise.

Take the hull for example. It's a wave-piercing and its a tumblehome design. This means that the hull slices through water like no one's business. It also means that the deck is going to be absolutely swamped with waves. That wave, when it hits the gun mount and bridge front is literally like driving into a brick wall at 60mph. Sea spray is one thing (bad enough) but being immersed in several tons of water flowing down is quite another. This boat is going to behave like a submarine operating on the surface; no one will be allowed on deck during the slightest of rough weather as it could wash a sailor overboard.

Furthermore, due to the hull design, the ship would actually sink faster if flooding than a regular ship. With a conventional flared hull, as the ship sinks in the water, its waterplane area increases, so it requires a steadily increasing rate of flooding to make the ship sink at a steady rate. If the rate of flooding does not increase, eventually the ship stops sinking. Good thing.

In a tumblehome hull, the ship will have a steadily-increasing rate of immersion at a steady rate of flooding. What it boils down is that for a steady rate of flooding, the ship sinks faster and faster, until it goes down to the Dave Jone's Locker. Not good.

Additionally, a conventional flared hull is more stable side to side in rough weather, as the increasing waterplane area gives her added buoyancy on the side that is submerging and gives the ship a moment that pushes upwards, back against the roll. That stabilizes the ship and the ship will return to an even keel. Good thing.

In a tumblehome hull, as the ship rolls, the decreasing waterplane area reduces buoyancy on the side that's going down, giving moment that pushes downwards in the same direction as a roll. The ship will eventually roll over and capsize (and down it goes into the Dave Jone's Locker again). Not good.

I also have serious reservations about the crewing system onboard. The DDG-1000 is supposed to have minimally-manned machinery spaces. This will save manpower and money over the long term. Problem: all of that automation doesn't work. Its troublesome, unreliable, extremely expensive and it needs somebody to watch it and repair it when it breaks. So all the people you were originally going to ship off as you need less people will have to be shipped back on to take care of the system.

Another point to consider: the purpose of a crew on a warship is not to make it go around and do random things. The purpose of a crew on a warship is to try patch the holes and put out the fires when other people shoot at it. Repairing damage cannot be automated (did I tell you that DDG-1000 was supposed to have automated damage control systems, systems that also don't always work as advertised?). So, having designed a hull that can easily sink in bad weather, we now remove the people who were supposed to try and stop it sinking. Whoops.

Now to the sensors. Good idea in theory, bad idea in practise. In DDG-1000, we have placed all the antennas into a single structure, which does reduce the radar cross section. Ok, but you create a problem called electronic interference, which means you can't operate any of your sensors. They made the decision to go with multi-functional antennas, which is a good idea in theory, but it doesn't work in practise when you are trying to operate mutually incompatible systems.

Going back to the hull, the ship is going to have a lot of water turbulence running around it as it is a wave piercing hull. This creates flow noise, and it can virtually blind the sonar system. As a result, they took out the sonar system and moved to depend on the dipping sonars on the helicopters and the escorts.

Not only do we have a ship that can sink in an instant, it is also a blind and deaf ship as well. Start to see the problem?

Moving on to the weapons; remember what I said about the water slamming on the deck? The gun mount shield is made of fibreglass to reduce radar cross section. It also means it's fragile; a good slam will crack that fliberglass shield. We have seen this before in the Halifax class frigates in really rough weather; the fiberglass gun shield on the Bofors 57mm gun will occasionally crack under the stress. The wave also generates suction as it passes over the VLS system, sucks the doors open and floods the silos. Sensitive electronic devices tend to not like salt water (or any water for that matter). Missiles are no exception. The VLS silos are also in a bad position on the hull; they are all along the deck edges, and when you have a ship that can roll as bad as DDG-1000 will, there will be a lot of sudden movements and rolling inertia. You won't be able to launch a missile under such circumstances...

So not only is it blind, deaf, and easily sinkable, it also has no fists to fight with. Whoops.

Hint to naval engineers: there is a reason why we have past practises that have been in use for almost a 100 years or more. Go back and learn from them.