US Navy adds stealth destroyer, new Arleigh Burke-class warship to the fleet

The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt departs San Diego, Calif. (MC2 Natalie Byers/U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy took delivery of its first stealth destroyer and a new Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer last week.

DDG-1000, the Zumwalt, is the first of a three-ship class of stealth destroyers delivered to the Navy nearly four years after it was commissioned.

The ship was delivered in two parts: the hull (mechanical and electrical delivery took place in May 2016) and the combat systems (which took place April 24, 2020).

Congress mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that the ship not be counted in the battle force until combat systems delivery was compete.

In November 2016, BAE Systems was awarded a $192 million contract to deliver the combat system for Zumwalt and its sister ship the Michael Monsoor.

The DDG-1000 program has been beleaguered by cost overruns and changes over the years. The ship’s original raison d'être, the Advanced Gun System, has been all but abandoned by the Navy as the vessel has changed from a naval gunfire support platform for landing Marines to now a surface strike platform.

As the Navy truncated the buy of Zumwalt-class destroyers from 28 ships to seven, and finally to three, the rounds for the guns became steadily more expensive, making theLong Range Land Attack Projectiletoo valuable to fire. The Navy has yet to identify a replacement.

Instead, the ship has been predesignated a ship killer, with Maritime Strike Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles integrated into its combat system.

The Michael Monsoor should have its combat system activation done by the second quarter of 2020, according to a Naval Sea Systems Command program brief from January. The third and final ship of the class, the Lyndon B. Johnson, is under construction at Bath Iron Works in Maine and should be delivered by December 2020.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Delbert Black spent more than three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing its main propulsion, combat and other ship systems. (Lance Davis/Huntington Ingalls Industries)

The ship will then transit to San Diego, California, and have its combat system installed like its sister ships.

The Navy also took delivery of the Areligh Burke-class destroyer Delbert Black, DDG-119, from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Black was damaged in an accident in 2019 when a Norwegian-flagged vessel struck a barge that subsequently struck the ship, causing delays to the construction and about $31 million in damage.

Huntington Ingalls has four other destroyers under construction, including the Flight IIA destroyers Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) and the Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), as well as the Flight III destroyers Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) and Ted Stevens (DDG-128).

Stevens is the first ship of a multiyear contract signed in June 2018.

Source: (Larter, s.f.)


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