The biggest procurement disaster in modern memory is the A-12 Avenger II, which is also the largest project canceled in midstream. The Zumwalt class is looking for a way to be associated with that rather unhappy memory.
On Thursday the Navy revealed information that was completely counter to all previously disclosed information regarding the DDG-1000 program. The following is quoted from the submitted statement (PDF) of Vice Admiral Barry McCullough.
The DDG-1000 program is developing a capable ship which meets the requirements for which it was designed. The DDG-1000, with its Dual Band Radar and sonar suite design are optimized for the littoral environment. However, in the current program of record, the DDG-1000 cannot perform area air defense; specifically, it cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6, and is incapable of conducting Ballistic Missile Defense. Although superior in littoral ASW, the DDG-1000 lower power sonar design is less effective in the blue water than DDG-51 capability. DDG-1000's Advanced Gun System (AGS) design provides enhanced Naval Fires Support capability in the littorals with increased survivability. However, with the accelerated advancement of precision munitions and targeting, excess fires capacity already exists from tactical aviation and organic USMC fires. Unfortunately, the DDG-1000 design sacrifices capacity for increased capability in an area where the Navy already has, and is projected to have sufficient capacity and capability.The statement " it cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile" should come to a surprise to everyone who reads it, because the meaning of what is stated above has extraordinary ramifications. That website is wrong and that website is wrong, Ronald O'Rourke and Eric Labs have both been wrong, which is noteworthy because their primary source is the Navy, and even this sales brochure at Northrop Grumman for the DDG-1000 is wrong.
Consider for a moment the testimony given by then CNO Vern Clark back on July 19th, 2005 (PDF), which was the Congressional testimony that defined the DDG-1000, and ultimately influenced the decision by Congress to fund the DDG-1000 line of ships.
Overall, DD(X) will have a ten-fold better capability against anti-ship cruise missiles than the current force, improve strike group defense three-fold, have a 50-fold radar cross section reduction compared to current destroyers (reducing total numbers of missiles required in an engagement by half), ten times the operating area in shallow water regions against mines, and improve naval surface fires coverage by a factor of three.Emphasis is not ours, it is in the original submitted testimony by CNO Clark, check the link Since that time the Navy has never indicated that any of this would be inaccurate, indeed we observe the description of the DDG-1000 in this CRS report: Navy DDG-1000 Destroyer Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke dated as recently as June 5th, 2008. As CRS is the research service for Congress, this is what the Navy told Ronald O' Rourke regarding the DDG-1000, so as to use it as information for Congress to make its decisions.
Anti-Air Warfare/Ballistic Missile Defense (AAW/BMD). The radars on the two ships are roughly equivalent in terms of dB gain (sensitivity) and target resolution. The firm track range of the DDG-1000’s dual-band radar — the range at which it can maintain firm tracks on targets — is 25% greater for most target types than the firm track range of the DDG-51’s SPY-1 radar. The DDG-1000’s AAW combat system would be able to maintain about 10 times as many tracks as the DDG-51’s Aegis system. The DDG-1000’s radar has much more capability for resisting enemy electronic countermeasures and for detecting targets amidst littoral “clutter.” As a result of the better performance amidst littoral clutter, the Navy believes that ships escorted by the DDG-1000 in defended littoral waters would have three times as much survivability as ships escorted by the DDG-51.The guided missile has revolutionized naval warfare, and ever since the Construction of the USS Long Beach (CGN 9), warships have been built with the primary weapon system intended to be the missile instead of the gun. The DDG-1000 was the first ship since the 1950s where the gun was the primary weapon system, not the missile. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) has been the major technological advancement of guided missile warfare at sea, which consolidated the space for storage of missiles on a ship and improved the rate of fire by distributing it as opposed to the use of a single or double rail launcher. The value of the missile, and VLS, is not to be trivialized, indeed this blog uses the guided missile as its basis for classification of modern surface combatants.
The two designs would use the same types of area-defense and point-defense interceptor missiles. They would also use the same flares, chaff, and decoys to confuse enemy anti-ship cruise missiles, but the Navy believes these devices would be more effective on the DDG-1000 because of the DDG-1000’s reduced signatures.
The Navy has 4 primary missiles it launches from VLS. The main weapon is the Standard series of missiles (SM-2, SM-3, SM-6) which today acts as a primary weapon for area-air defense and is also very efficient in attacking surface targets, and acts as the primary weapon in anti-surface warfare for the Flight IIA Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Other VLS weapon systems include Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), and the RUM-139 ASROC (ASROC stands for Anti-Submarine Rocket). According to the United States Navy 1975 ship reclassification, ships are given a "G" to represent the ship is an AAW ship with guided missile capability, so when the Zumwalt name was announced and it was termed DDG-1000, the implication by the Navy was the ship was a missile guided anti-aircraft capable combatant.
Last Thursday's testimony reveals that there would appear to be some deception regarding the actual capability of the DDG-1000, in fact one might suggest it reveals there has been some deception regarding the actual purpose of the ship. If the DDG-1000 is not capable of deploying the SM-2, then it isn't a DDG at all, it is actually a DD.
Furthermore, how can a ship that cannot carry the primary anti-aircraft missile in the US Navy's current inventory possibly be "meeting the requirements for which it was designed" according to Vice Admiral Barry McCullough and at the same time "have a ten-fold better capability against anti-ship cruise missiles than the current force" as stated by CNO Vern Clark if the ship "cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6" as Vice Admiral Barry McCullough testified. Those statements are in direct contradiction of one another.
If the Zumwalt class is "meeting the requirements for which it was designed" without the Standard missile series, what exactly is the ship designed to do? We do not believe to suggest the ship is designed for land attack from the littoral would be a description disputed by anyone.
How does the Navy explain the operational concept of a 14,500 ton stealth ship with 2 advanced guns, and 80 PVLS cells that can either hold only ESSM, ASROCs, or cruise missiles? Even if the ship carried 64 ESSMs and 12 ASROCs, which would be more than deploys on existing Navy surface combatants today, there would still be 50 empty PVLS cells that could only support the Tomahawk missile. In fact, given the only alternative to ESSM and ASROC for a stealth battleship with a large MK57 payload is land attack missiles, one might assume the intent is to field the ship and develop a missile leveraging the increased size of the MK57 to give the Navy a conventional ballistic missile attack capability using ramjet and other technologies.
On October 24, 1997, Congress decided to limit the funding in FY1998 for the joint DARPA/Navy Maritime Fire Support Demonstrator (MFSD) program, which was previously known as Arsenal Ship. The result of this decision was accepted to be the termination of the Arsenal Ship concept. How can one possibly accept that the Arsenal Ship was ever canceled after last Thursdays hearing, indeed by changing a few words, exaggerating a few capabilities, and operating under the theory of minimal publicly available information the Navy has not only kept the Arsenal Ship concept alive and well, but they evolved the program from 6 small dependent combatants into a class of 7 independent stealth battleships, then had the program funded and pushed through Congress in plain sight under the pretext of a more capable program.
Who would possibly confuse the 6 small combatants with 500 missiles that is dependent upon escorts for defense from air attack as outlined in the arsenal ship program, with 7 enormous independently capable stealth combatants with 2 big guns and 750 shells? After all, as long as the enormous stealth combatants had SM-2s they were completely different ship profiles. Without the SM-2, what is the difference between the Arsenal Ship and the DDG-1000? Different primary weapon, the DDG-1000 is bigger, and the DDG-1000 costs more. That's about it.
The distance between a DDG-1000 cited with SM-2s on every public website on the internet, and a ship that cannot support SM-2s is the same distance in the Navy's credibility gap when it comes time to discuss surface combatant requirements. Keep in mind, the existence of the SM-2 has driven every assumption in the public domain about the DDG-1000 for the last three years. How is it possible the DDG-1000 is a "ship which meets the requirements for which it was designed" and the whole time Congress and the American people have been told the cost of the DDG-1000 is justified because the DDG-1000 has all kinds of multi-mission capabilities that it really doesn't have? Allison Stiller testified the Navy has already spent $13 billion in both R&D and SCN budget funding to build the first two DD-1000 Arsenal Ships, and apparently Congress didn't even know what they were really doing. Is the DDG-1000 really a "ship which meets the requirements for which it was designed?"
And can someone explain how a ship with a Raytheon MK57, a Raytheon Dual Band Radar, and with Raytheon as the prime mission systems integrator for all electronic and combat systems, the ship cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile, which of coarse is built by... Raytheon! If there was ever a question for Congressional oversight, I can think of thirteen billion reasons why that would be a good question to add to the list.
How is the DDG-1000 program not the evolution of the Arsenal Ship program if the Navy still insists the DDG-1000 is a "ship which meets the requirements for which it was designed?" Should we ignore that the reason everyone believed the Zumwalt could support Standard Missiles is because the Navy has done everything possible to lead everyone to believe it could? How come the Navy never bothered to tell anyone the DDG-1000 could not support the Standard Missile? Had Gene Taylor and Admiral Roughead not done something to stop the program, how far into the program would we be before someone would inform the public of this $13 billion and counting deception? If the DDG-1000 really is meeting the requirements for which it was designed then it appears to have been designed to be an Arsenal Ship under a different name.
The Navy has been delivering a lunchbag of bullshit to Congress regarding surface combatants for three years. On behalf of the American taxpayer I have a simple question for Congress. What does lunch taste like?