More funds for Zumwalt destroyers


The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, a $1.8 billion contract for the construction of DDG 1001 and DDG 1002, the next two ships in the Zumwalt-class destroyer programme.

DDG 1001 is scheduled to be delivered in December 2015 and DDG 1002 is scheduled to be delivered in February 2018. “This contract enables us to maintain a strong base of quality shipbuilding jobs in Maine and continue our contributions to sustaining the US Navy fleet,” said Jeff Geiger, president of Bath Iron Works. “It provides Bath Iron Works with a healthy backlog of work and reflects the Navy’s continued commitment to the DDG-1000 program, as well as their confidence in our ability to build and deliver all three ships of this class.”

Geiger said, “Winning this work is a result of our commitment to operational excellence and to finding more efficient, affordable ways to operate in every part of our business. It gives us the opportunity to continue introducing new and innovative ways to build capable ships for the Navy.”
“We appreciate all the support the Maine Congressional delegation has provided to this program. Their commitment to national defense and their advocacy on behalf of the workers of Maine has been a crucial factor,” Geiger said.

The first ship in the class, DDG-1000 – the future USS Zumwalt – is over 50 percent complete and is scheduled to be delivered in 2014. The DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer is the US Navy’s next-generation, guided-missile naval destroyer. The ships will feature a low radar profile, an integrated power system and a total ship computing environment infrastructure.

According to the wikipedia, the multi-role class is designed for surface warfare, air defence and naval fire support. Its mooted weapons fit includes 20 Mk57 vertical launch system (VLS) modules, with a total of 80 launch cells for Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) (four per cell) or Tactical Tomahawk (one per cell) and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC, one per cell). Gun armament includes two 155mm Advanced Gun Systems with a range of 154km and a magazine of up to 750 rounds. The barrel is to be water cooled to prevent over-heating and allows a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute per gun. This is to be supplemented with two Mk110 57mm guns. Aircraft carried are to include one H-60-class medium helicopter and three MQ-8 Fire Scout VT-UAVs.

The stealthy class will displace some 14 798 tons and boast a length of 180m, a beam of 24.6m and a draft of 8.4m. In a clear departure from its predecessors, the class boasts a “tumblehome” hull form common a century ago. “Originally put forth in modern steel battleship designs by the French shipyard Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee in La Seyne in Toulon, French naval architects believed that tumblehome, in which the beam of the vessel narrowed from the water-line to the upper deck, would create better freeboard, greater seaworthiness, and, as Russian battleships were to find, would be ideal for navigating through narrow constraints (canals). On the down side, the tumblehome battleships experienced stability problems, especially in high speed turns or losses in watertight integrity,” The wikipedia writers add tumblehome is being reintroduced to reduce the radar return of the hull, with a bow designed to cut through waves rather than ride over them.

A single composite material deckhouse also contributes to a low radar return. Therefore, despite being 40% larger than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer the radar signature is more akin to a fishing boat and sound levels are compared to the Los Angeles-class submarine, the wikipedia adds.