Three strikes and you’re out, destroyer edition
General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works posted images of the PCS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer, as the sleek and futuristic-looking 15,000-ton warship sailed away from BIW just over a decade after the vessel was awarded to the builder. She is toothless, heading to my hometown of Pascagoula for the next couple of years to receive her weapon fit.
She does not have a commissioning date set as far as I can tell.
While 32 were planned, the Navy just has class-leader Zumwalt (DDG-1000) active while the second vessel, Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), is still listed as “in commission, special” going on three years after her delivery.
As the trio of ships has a lot of possibilities– and, if nothing else, still carries 80 Mk57 VLS cells each– hopefully, they can reach full maturity in whatever realistic future role they can fill.
At the same time, PEO Ships released a seven-page report on the planned DDG(X) that will fill the giant hole left in the fleet by the canceled Zumwalts and aging early Burkes, with construction to start as soon as 2028.
As noted by Sam LaGrone over at USNI News:
The Navy wants its next warship to fire hypersonic missiles and lasers that would be ten times more powerful than the service’s existing laser weapons, according to the most detailed outlook to date of the DDG(X) next-generation warship issued by the service.
The warship, the largest the Navy’s attempted in more than 20 years, is designed to provide the service with the power to drive a new generation of directed energy weapons and high-power sensors that will follow the Navy’s current fleet of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers
To me, the notional DDG(X) looks like an update of the planned “strike cruiser” concept of the late 1970s or the spitballed Aegis rebuild of the old USS Long Beach from the same period.
We shall see…