The US Navy's next-generation guided missile destroyer will be armed with directed-energy and hypersonic weapons.
Tom Stevens, the director of ground assembly at Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, spoke with AP News about the future of shipbuilding. He said the new class of next-generation guided-missile destroyers (DDG(X)) would replace the service's Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers.
The first contracts for building DDG(X) vessels were awarded to General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works in Maine and Huntington Ingalls Industries in Mississippi earlier this summer.
The Navy recently disclosed that combat systems from the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class (most modernized Arleigh Burke-class destroyers) and the propulsion system from the failed Zumwalt-class destroyers would be embedded into the future DDG(X).
According to a Congressional Budget Office report, each DDG(X) will cost a whopping $2.2 billion per vessel, almost a third more than the most expensive Arleigh Burke-class.
"It will be an impressive destroyer that will absolutely launch us into the next generation of ships," said Stevens.
The first DDG(X) destroyers won't be commissioned until the mid-2030s. The Navy learned a valuable lesson when it rushed production of the stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyers filled with endless problems. These stealth destroyers were supposed to replace Burke-class destroyers, but that appears not to be the case anymore, as the Zumwalt orders were slashed from 32 to only three.
"Rather than tying the success of DDG(X) to developmental technology, we're using known, mature technologies on a flexible platform that can be upgraded for decades to come, as the technology of tomorrow is matured and demonstrated," said Jamie Koehler, a Navy spokesperson.
Bryan Clark, a defense analyst at the Hudson Institute, said the new destroyer is the Navy's aspiration to "pile every mission on the DDG(X) to make it sort of death star" with directed energy and hypersonic weapons.