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Zumwalt Class Destroyer SITREP

The following post is by Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, the director for the Navy’s Surface Warfare Division.


Recently, I mentioned my trips to Maine and Rhode Island to visit Bath Iron Works (BIW) and the Raytheon Facility. Both of these tours provided firsthand insight into the production of ZUMWALT-class destroyer, and latest system testing. Though brief when previously mentioned, I now want to provide insight into the DDG 1000 program, its current status, and notable highlights.

DDG 1000 culminates two decades of research and development, creating the next generation destroyer capable of defeating future threats. The revolutionary design of the ship itself reduces its signature and includes both active and passive self-defense systems, plus enhanced survivability features. The self-defense systems are built to defeat littoral submarine threats, next generation anti-ship cruise missiles, and small boats. Also, the USW suite is capable of in-stride mine avoidance. It will provide valuable lessons in advanced technology, which can be incorporated into other ship classes, and it will have optimal manning through Human Systems Integration. For example, the automation on DDG 1000 will allow most routine watchstanding to take place in only two locations – the Bridge and the double deck Ships Mission Center (SMC).  The SMC will have the look and feel of an advanced command center with operations overseeing both ship missions and functions through multi-modal common display system workstations.

Physically, all three ships are under construction!  ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) is more than 70% complete. Christening and Commissioning are set for FY13 and FY15, respectively, with a two-phase delivery for HM&E and Combat Systems scheduled for FY’s 14 and 15. Following Developmental and Operational Testing, DDG 1000 will IOC in FY16.

MICHAEL MONSOOR (DDG 1001) is more than 30% complete with Sail Away in FY17. Additionally, fabrication of DDG 1002 began 4 April with Senator Collins and CNO commemorating the event; of note, SECNAV named the ship LYNDON B JOHNSON on 16 April. All three destroyers are meeting major construction and testing milestones to reach completion prior to arriving in their homeport of San Diego.

These ships are remarkable accomplishments of modern shipbuilding. In these ships you can see the teamwork between Sailors, civilians, and industry. Upon completion, the ZUMWALT class will be the largest destroyers ever built by the U.S. Navy. The total length will be 610 foot with an 81 foot beam, 27 foot draft, and a fully loaded displacement over 15,600 tons. By comparison to a football field, the composite deckhouse alone is 66 yards long, 23 yards wide, and almost 20 yards tall.

Physical size isn’t the half of it, the engineering plant is very impressive, as well!  The Integrated Power System (IPS) is an all-electric power plant that generates the ship’s total distributable electric power while also converting this power for all ship loads, including propulsion, combat systems, and ship services. IPS’s design is centered on two Main plus two Auxiliary Turbine Generators producing a total of 78mW electrical power… 58mW of which is available when the ship is at 20kts!

One of the underlying strengths of the ZUMWALT Class is its innovative IPS design. It provides resilient combat power and extra margin for future capability growth within the ship, a critical attribute designed to help the Navy modernize elements of the ship’s combat capability and adapt to changing fiscal, technological, or threat conditions.

Additionally, the ZUMWALT Class is the first combatant to introduce a Low Voltage Power System that features a highly survivable Integrated Fight Through Power (IFTP) system, which relies on new-to-the-Navy solid state Power Conversion Modules to achieve user-specific power demands. The IFTP architecture combines four electrically isolated zones (forward to aft) and two segregated longitudinal buses (port/starboard), with advanced Engineering Control System functionality that introduces single-operator control with unprecedented and reliable automated power management, fault isolation, and recovery features.

The shipboard crew of ~130 Officers and Sailors will be berthed in staterooms ranging from 1 to 4 person occupancy, with an integrated bathing facility with each and every stateroom. DDG 1000’s crew screening and billeting process has already begun; the MPA and STO reported, while the Commanding Officer will be slated shortly. The remainder of the PRECOM crew for PCU ZUMWALT will continue to report through 2015.

Upon joining the Fleet, DDG 1000 will mark major advances in surface combatant capability. DDG 1000 is an optimally crewed, multi-mission surface combatant tailored for land attack and littoral dominance. ZUMWALT will provide offensive, distributed, and precision fires in support of forces ashore, and a credible forward naval presence operating independently or as an integral part of Naval, Joint, or Combined Expeditionary Strike Forces. Ultimately, DDG 1000 will provide significant capabilities to address deterrence posture requirements and the campaign plan needs of our Combatant Commanders. DDG 1000 will also help satisfy steady-state presence demands while, most importantly, supporting DoD’s Strategic Guidance and the Defense Secretary’s direction to sharpen the technological edge our naval forces which will serve in critical roles as envisioned by the Joint Operational Access and Air-Sea Battle Concepts.

I encourage you to read more about DDG 1000 in the Winter 2012 edition of Surface Warfare Magazine and in an upcoming edition of Popular Science.

Take care,




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  1. I still say this new design looks like crap. I’m afraid Admiral Zumwalt is turning in his grave. I do not know if I would like to serve aboard her. Sorry

  2. It’s not what it looks like that matters, the shape reduces its signature. Like the b-52 aircraft’s shape.

  3. I’m sorry it isn’t aesthetically pleasing to you, But in my Navy its more about functionality than aesthetics.

  4. not sure if i like the design at all and naming one after LBJ not sure if i like that either

  5. Sorry, have to agree with Wayne Simanovsky. The Zumwalt class destroyer is the ugliest looking ship I’ve ever seen. The prow looks like it was taken from a trireme. Yuk.

  6. When I first looked at the pic my thought was of the Monitor and Merrimac.

  7. It looks like a borg ship please tell me its not totally computer controlled and that its got a human crew that has to make the fire order happen

  8. Shades of the Monitor and the Merrimack.

  9. Was this the beauty I saw moored at Bath’s docks there weeks ago?

  10. it kinda looks like a iron clad.

  11. Where are the lifelines on deck? Where do the sailorswalk and work on deck? I see no anchor, mooring line chocks, winches, or anything else needed to operate any ship from docking to signaling, to ANYTHiNG for unrepping, close-aboard operations, etc.
    Are you sure it’s not a submarine?…LT,1968

  12. i love the look of it. more future designed not back in time remember guys we designed this to work not to be eye candy to everybody but it is eye candy to me.

  13. I see no provisions for anchoring, mooring, gu maintenance, unrepping, close-aboard operations, liferafts, signaling, radio communications,….but, hey, she’s pretty.

  14. Bigger then a Tico with 1/3 the manning. Technology and automation are fun, but do you really have enough bodies onboard to conduct damage control and fight the ship, while allowing for potential casualties? Looks like a 21st century Perry Class. Designed to accomplish so many different missions that it is really fit for none. Sounds like they came up with lots of stuff for it to do, after deciding to build it, just as selling points. Cool looking ships are great for recruiting posters, but all things considered, I’d rather go to war on a functional one.

  15. i was about to post that :)

  16. The Navy still seems unconcerned with the small boat threat and cruise missiles. These designs are still undergunned and under-protected.

  17. Good lord, at least we had accessible weather decks! DD719….No sunlight can be a little depressing….

  18. James- we hope so too…

  19. I will say the lose of battleships to the navy for their lose of utility disapoints me as I though they where plainly put awesome, but these state of the art Destroyers are extremely impressive and are starting to turn my opinion.

  20. The MK 110 is quite effective in that role.

  21. The only way these ships will be “optimally crewed” is if the crew is at least doubled. Good luck getting maintenance done on these ships. And painting. And damage control. Oh yeah, don’t we stand watch too?

  22. Hardly a destroyer by any means. More the size of a fully loaded Cleveland Class light cruiser of WW2.

  23. this is interesting… it reminds me of the civil war era confederate ironclads, but the super structure looks kinda like a streamlined version of todays destroyers….

  24. I think that’s what the design was based off of, to a degree.

  25. If it gets hit with an Exocet missile, and takes an immediate 15% casualty hit, will the remaining crew be able to save the ship? Ships don’t fight, sailors do. It’s not a Toyota car factory, it’s a 21st century Ironsides and it seems like its a little light in the loafers.

  26. According to Dalgren’s info pages on the rail guns they should be available around 2025. Their second gun is already in testing and is alot more “ship ready” than the old box gun they were using.

  27. This ship does indeed look strange, to me. The trend for the last 50 years seems to be the reduction in the number of guns and the addition of electronics and some missles. If this ship is designed to deal with littoral vessels, I don’t see anything close range capable to do it. One well placed shell can ruin the electronics and power systems this ship seems to depend on. also, how can you have a real class of ship when they are so expensive to build you can only have three of them?

  28. I served aboard USS Horne (DLG 30) USS KING (DLG 10) and USS Hollister (DD 788) and this thing is depressing! When I was off duty, I liked to go out on deck to get some air, but with no accessible weather decks how is that possible on one these new tin cans!? This will be a morale killer!

  29. Thorsten Hindermann

    That new class of destroyers rocks the house!

  30. Interesting units for power. “PS’s design is centered on two Main plus two Auxiliary Turbine Generators producing a total of 78mW electrical power… 58mW of which is available when the ship is at 20kts!” So this thing runs on mW milliwatts, instead of MW megawatts? That’s a very power efficient warship!

  31. If that were the case, they’d be a lot more selective in their manning.

    You’ve got a lot of kids- and officers- who look like they belong in a toothpaste ad, but no almost nothing about warfighting.

    If your claim were true, we’d be building fighting ships and naming them for warriors instead of politicians.

  32. That’s my primary concern,

    You can build “survivable” technology all you like- but it’s sailors who keep the ships functioning. How are they going to do that when they’re fifty percent undermanned AND forward deployed at a higher op tempo than at any time since the Vietnam War?

    We’ve had a lot of ships missing deployment deadlines due to deferred maintenance and “bumped” yardtime.

    I’ve yet to hear any serious proposals for fixing this problem.

  33. Rexford Dundon

    that’s what I’ve been thinking for years.. not enough people to do the damn job, figure that it will be in a maximum of 3 section duty, just to stand the damn inport watches the Navy requires, or will you just have one Quarterdeck watch, “I’m OOD, POOW and Messenger, and I also do top side rover”

  34. Rexford Dundon

    ummm the B-52 is a rather UNSTEALTHY aircraft. Its radar signature might be smaller than the Hindenburg, but only slightly.

  35. For the love of god, STOP naming carriers after politicians! We need names like Saratoga, Lexington, and America for our capital ships. If you are going to name them after politicians, there should be a rule that said politician must have been deceased for at least 100 years before their name is selectable.

  36. Follow the money and see where it came from. Probably politicians. Who works up at congress and White House levels in deciding what our head boss in the navy ‘has’ to abide by. Politicians. They play a huge part in what we do, to forget of where all the funding comes from and what the money will be used for (on what the donors are asking it to be used for) is not smart. In our navy system where all our things needs to be funded by government (supply/repairs/manning/travel….)

    We aren’t supposed to buy things ourselves which leaves us at the whim of…who? Ones who have the money.

    Food for thought.

  37. It’s also yet to be proven that this design IS, in fact, “functional”.

    Despite the rather shallow assurances offered thus far, there remains VERY serious doubts about whether this thing will be seaworthy in any seaway more lively than a saucer of milk.

    The only good news to be found in this design is that if it DOES broach, turn turtle, or plunge straight to the bottom, the dangerously-limited manning will ensure we only need a small number of body bags.

  38. In @waynesimanovsky:disqus defense, that used to be a huge part of naval artecture. Just how she looked gliding through the waves. It was totally subjective.

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