The DD-21 Zumwalt-class Land Attack Destroyer was intended to replace the DD 963 and FFG 7 Classes of destroyer and frigate in today's inventory. The DD 21 System was to provide an advanced level of land attack in support of the ground campaign and contribute to naval, joint and combined battlespace dominance in littoral operations.
On 01 November 2001 the Navy announced that it would issue a revised Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Future Surface Combatant Program. Formerly known as DD 21, the program will now be called "DD(X)" to more accurately reflect the program purpose, which is to produce a family of advanced technology surface combatants, not a single ship class. Instead of building the large DD 21 destroyer, the Navy may use the advanced technology on a full range of ships, including a downsized destroyer, an even smaller warship to operate in coastal waters, and a larger cruiser. One of the concerns about the DD-21 was that it was much larger than the current DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Another concern [reportedly of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz] was that the Navy was investing too much in a ship primarily designed to accommodate the long-range Advanced Gun System. The House Appropriations Committee voted in October 2001 to cut funding for the DD-21 program by 75 percent.
The Navy subsequently restructured the program, which was renamed the DD-X. The new "downsized" destroyer was slated to displace 12,000 tons, instead of the 16,000 tons planned for the DD 21. This did not happen, and within a few years the DDG-1000 Zumwalt had re-emerged, little changed from the DD-21 Zumwalt.
DD 21 was to be a multimission destroyer tailored for land attack warfare. DD 21 was required to support ground forces as a primary mission, in addition to performing traditional destroyer missions (i.e., anti-air, anti-surface, and undersea warfare). In that regard, DD 21 represented a departure from past design efforts, which were focused primarily on the deep-water threats of the Cold War era. The DD 21 was to be a true fleet destroyer, capable of handling any mission that a Fleet commander might ask, from key wartime missions in land attack and undersea warfare to the equally important presence missions, noncombatant evacuations, escort, and diplomatic missions that have been closely associated with Navy destroyers for almost a century.
DD 21 was to be designed with the necessary growth capacity to accommodate the additional missions of CG 21. CG 21 will be a fully capable next generation air dominance cruiser to replace today's AEGIS Cruisers. This common design, along with an open systems architecture, will facilitate affordable and flexible mission upgrades to ensure this family of ships remains mission capable over its full service life.
DD 21 was to be a multi-mission destroyer tailored to maritime dominance and land attack missions. DD 21 will push the envelope in improved joint connectivity, advanced computing systems, reduced signatures (radar cross section, infrared, acoustic, magnetic, and active signature management techniques) and optimal manning.
DD 21 was to be an offensive, multi-mission destroyer capable of operating independently or with a Naval, Joint, or combined task force. The ship's offensive, land attack orientation was being engineered and balanced with traditional multi-mission surface combatant capabilities that would be needed for DD 21 to dominate the maritime battlespace. While tailored for land attack, the ship's ultimate mission is to fight and win any battle...open ocean or littoral.
With state-of-the-art information technologies, DD 21 was to operate seamlessly with other naval, ground, and land-based air forces, and will be in accordance with the Navy's evolving "Network-Centric Warfare" concept of operations and Information Technology for the 21st Century architecture. The DD 21 emphasis on "sensor-to-shooter" connectivity will provide a naval or Joint Task Force commander with the multi-mission flexibility to destroy a wide variety of land targets while simultaneously countering maritime threats.
Like today's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, DD 21 was to be a multi-mission ship, capable of providing forward presence and deterrence, and operating as a vital part of naval, joint and combined maritime forces to gain battlespace dominance in littoral operations. But unlike today's destroyers, DD 21's primary mission would be land attack support for ground forces. Armed with 5-inch/62 extended range guided munitions and 155mm Howitzers, the ship will provide naval gunfire support up to 100 miles inland. A land attack missile system will extend support between 100 and 200 miles. Tactical Tomahawk missiles will be able to reach targets from 200 to 1,600 nautical miles.
DD 21 was to have the most advanced undersea warfare combat systems ever installed on a surface combatant. The ship's hangar would house attack helicopters as well as a system of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). In concert with other ships, DD 21 would contribute surveillance and force to establish and maintain local air superiority.
The DD 21 program emphasized more than just improved offensive and defensive capabilities. Because DD 21's design would incorporate only the most advanced systems and materials on the market today, ships of the class can remain battle-ready with minimal maintenance and greatly reduced manpower. Design characteristics such as submarine-like survivability and a significantly reduced radar signature, achieved through a fully integrated topside design, would significantly expand the mission of the surface combatant.
As with previous destroyer designs, DD 21 was focused on the key mission areas facing the nation and the Navy during its design phase. The Navy believes it needs a destroyer that is capable of exceptional performance in the littoral regions of the world and one that can provide significant support to forces ashore. As a result, DD 21 must excel in mission areas that include land attack and maritime dominance. DD 21 was to provide an advanced level of land attack in support of the ground campaign, while contributing to naval, joint, and combined battlespace dominance in littoral operations. Given the large inventory of upgraded CG 47 and new DDG 51 Class ships that will be in the fleet by the time the first few DD 21 class ships begin to join the fleet after 2008, a robust self defense capability in air defense would be sufficient for this ship.
The DD 21 ships must possess the operational flexibility to meet the multimission forward presence and war-fighting requirements of the littoral environment and employ self defense against the threats documented in the 21st Century Surface Combatant Program System Threat Assessment Report. The DD 21 ships must also be capable of taking advantage of and maintaining the benefits of the military revolution stimulated by the rapid advances in information and information related technologies and exploit them through automation and system architectures capable of disseminating information to widely dispersed and dissimilar units to achieve an overall dominant maneuver concept of operations, as outlined in Joint Vision 2010 and concepts for future joint operations.
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