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DD-21 Zumwalt - Design

As of 1997 the program was considered a "family"' of ships, with the initial "DD 21"' variant displacing about 10,000 tons full load and a full-capability variant (which might not be ordered until 2017) displacing upwards of 12,000 tons through the expedient of adding a 90 ft plug amidships; later variants could be even longer. The initial DD 21/Maritime Fire Support Ship version would carry some 1,200 precision-guided rounds for the proposed twin 155-mm lightweight gun (with a range of 75 to 100 miles), a new combat system to succeed Aegis, a variety of Tomahawk-family missiles for tactical and strategic purposes, a shore-attack missile (if bomblet-equipped Tomahawk is not available), and several types of unmanned surveillance and countermeasures drones, as well as new torpedo countermeasures; it may have no antisubmarine capability.

The later "Sea Dominance Combatant"' would add undersea warfare, surface warfare, and mine warfare capabilities. Around 2015, the first "Air Dominance"' version would enter service, followed later by the larger "Full Multimission Capability Combatant"' or "Power Projection Ship."

It was announced in 1996 that units ordered through 2015 were not intended to carry any area air-defense missiles, implying that the previous theater anti-missile defense role for the ships had been abandoned. Evolved Sea Sparrow SAMs would be carried for self-defense. Initially expected to cost about $2 billion per ship in FY 97 dollars, a 1997 statement indicated an overly optimistic price of $800 million per unit for the initial variant. The planned crew size of 95 for initial version may be too small for normal housekeeping functions and would probably grow.

As conceived in 1997, DD-21 would have several untried weapons, including the proposed twin 155-mm VGAS (Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships) vertical-launch gun system, which would have a range of 100 nm and for which 1,500 rounds would be carried. There were to be two 64-cell vertical-launch missile cell groups, a considerable reduction from the 256 originally planned or the 500 proposed for the now-canceled Arsenal Ship.

DD 21 was the first U.S. Navy surface combatant founded entirely upon 21st century strategic concepts set forth in policy documents such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Joint Vision 2010 and the Navy-Marine Corps' Forward . . . From the Sea and Operational Maneuver from the Sea publications. Collectively, these concepts emphasize seamless interoperability, information superiority, and precision firepower to enable battlespace dominance and to influence operations ashore, directly and decisively. DD 21 would feature two primary operational capabilities: Land Attack and Maritime Dominance.

Armed with a wide array of land attack weapons, including a next-generation naval gun system, DD 21 would provide precise, sustained, and distributed (i.e., geographically dispersed) naval fires over a wide area in support of expeditionary forces ashore operating deep inside the littoral nation's territory. The Navy and its Industry partners are developing revolutionary land attack weapon systems and technologies for naval surface fire support, battlefield interdiction, and strike warfare in support of the Operational Maneuver from the Sea strategic concept.

DD 21's Advanced Gun System would provide the volume of fires and sustainability, improved lethality, and increased range needed for 21st century warfare. It would provide extremely accurate sustained fires using precision-guided Naval and Joint Service munitions with nearly 10 times the range of current shipboard guns. Built by United Defense, the advanced gun would meet the Marine Corps surface fire support requirements. Additionally, the gun system would support other DD 21 requirements:

  • Reduced manning: The advanced handling system would be fully automatic and unmanned.
  • Reduced signatures: The gun design, with its above deck structure, would meet the stealth requirement of DD 21.
  • Reduced O&S Costs: The entire system would have reduced maintenance requirements.

The Advanced Gun System would expand on the Army and Marine Corps 155MM gun and would leverage existing ordnance technologies (e.g., 5" ERGM, Army XM982 155MM projectile, SADARM / Unitary warheads, Army Crusader program). United Defense recommended a traditional pointing gun for DD-21 and the Navy concurred. The Navy decided against a vertical gun for DD-21 in part because "stealth" technologies can reduce the signature of a traditional pointing gun mount and because a vertical gun would not always meet the 100-nm range requirement. Among other disadvantages, the vertical gun would have a shorter range and its projectiles would take longer to reach their target. Plans now call for a fully automated pointing gun firing 12 rounds per minute. Associated with the gun are gunfire control functionality integrated into the DD 21 Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE), an automated magazine, and low-radar and IR signatures for the gun and barrel. AGS design includes a family of 155mm extended range guided projectiles with warheads matched to the projected land attack target set. Efforts are underway to achieve as much commonality as possible with US Army 155mm projectiles.

Another DD 21 primary operational capability is maritime dominance - the seagoing component of Joint Vision 2010's tenet of dominant maneuver. Maintaining maritime dominance demands better situational awareness, full spectrum offensive engagement capability, robust self defense, and sufficient mobility to employ multi-dimensional forces to provide a decisive advantage over an enemy at sea. Maritime Dominance is a prerequisite for land attack operations which allows naval forces to first control and then extend the littoral battlespace inland. The effect is to provide Joint and combined forces unimpeded access to strategic and tactical areas of interest ashore. DD 21 would establish and maintain superiority over the surface, subsurface, and local air battlespace by performing a variety of maritime missions including air, surface, submarine, mine, and special warfare, and other fleet support operations.

For air dominance, DD 21 would employ a leading edge radar suite tailored for littoral operations. This radar suite combined with surface-to-air missiles and cooperative engagement capability would support the requirement to establish and maintain local area air superiority. The Multi-function Radar (MFR) is a key part of the next generation AAW System. As low elevation air threats continue to evolve in capability, advances in radar technologies become essential to support operational and manning requirements. MFR, to be designed and built by Raytheon Systems Corporation, is a solid state active array radar system. This radar is more than a cruise missile defense radar. It must provide ulti-function surveillance that can meet the performance requirements in all related mission areas. The Volume Search Radar (VSR) would complement the MFR. It would provide situational awareness, air control, track identification and counter battery locating data. The VSR would provide cue quality track data to the MFR and complement MFR for ship self defense.

DD 21 would operate and support LAMPS helicopters and remote minehunting systems as well as broadband sonars. These organic systems would support a variety of littoral missions including battlespace surveillance, over-the-horizon identification and targeting, in-stride mine avoidance, and localization and destruction of enemy submarines.

To improve survivability in this complex and dynamic environment, DD 21 would be designed with "stealth" technologies to reduce its visual, radar, infrared, acoustic, and magnetic signatures. DD 21 would have an integrated topside design with an advanced superstructure and advanced multi-function apertures. In addition to improving self-defense, DD 21's revolutionary signature reduction would greatly enhance its offensive capabilities by allowing it to operate closer to shore despite threat conditions.

The unique notional DD 21 hull form is a dramatic visual representation of the vastly reduced signatures envisioned for this combatant. As the first U.S. warship to incorporate an integrated approach to signature reduction, DD 21 is the critical bridgehead for development of these technologies. While specific types of signature-reducing technologies would not be disclosed until the Navy downselects to one industry team ship design concept in 2001, requirements to reduce DD 21's radar signature necessitate an integrated topside design (i.e. reduced signatures through the use of an advanced superstructure incorporating embedded multi-function apertures for antenna and electronic systems). The ship design would also likely include radical composite construction materials, some radar absorbing materials, and optimized hull shaping both above and below the waterline. Extensive attention would also be given to acoustic quieting and degaussing for both equipment and propulsion systems. The integrated power system is expected to provide substantial quieting capability.

Surface combatants are designed with low signatures or "stealth" to avoid detection by enemy sensors. In order to ensure effectiveness in Joint littoral operations, DD 21 would feature active and passive survivability features, such as in-stride mine avoidance and full-spectrum signature reduction. Low visual, radar, infrared, acoustic, and magnetic signatures not only improve a ship's survivability, but also enhance its offensive capabilities, particularly in land-attack warfare, by allowing the ship to operate close to shore despite threat conditions.

Technologies being developed for potential inclusion in a damage-tolerant DD 21 design include a shock-resistant hull, a robust electrical power distribution system, and an integrated magazine protection system. DD 21 survivability performance must support damage control operations in a reduced manning environment. This may be satisfied with advanced automation, sensors and control, and systems such as robotic fire-fighting. Automated systems would be used to pre-configure and reconfigure systems for combat; monitor equipment status; and detect and counter smoke, fire and flooding.

Integrated Power System (IPS) is the all-electric architecture for future ships, providing electric power to the total ship (propulsion and ship service) with an integrated plant. IPS offers reduced costs of ownership, reduced construction costs, improved survivability, and greater architectural flexibility. The Integrated Power System (IPS) would provide total ship electric power, including electric drive, for all future surface ships including surface combatants, amphibious, auxiliary, and command ships. Near term ship targets include but are not limited to DD21, CG 21, JCC(X), and LH(X), with potential application to future flights of LPD 17. The electric power system must meet individual ship requirements, support all ship systems, and be able to support operations for as long as the ship remains afloat. These ships must operate wherever required, particularly in littoral waters, to enable joint maritime expeditionary force operations and project precise strike power ashore.

DD 21 would have "full" helicopter capabilities. The ORD calls for DD 21 to conduct aviation operations, including air control, day/night launch and recovery, inflight refueling, hangaring, and rearming. The aviation requirement includes facilities to conduct joint rotary wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations, maintenance and support. DD 21 would support the H-60 family of aircraft with an "objective" of providing two armed helicopters and a UAV detachment.

A crew of 95, including the helicopter detachment, was the "objective" requirement and is a key performance parameter within the DD 21 Operational Requirements Document (ORD). The "threshold" (i.e., maximum acceptable) requirement is a crew of 150. The number 95 was established as a benchmark to achieve revolutionary reductions in DD 21 life-cycle cost. The Navy is designing DD 21 from the keel up to operate efficiently with essential manning (i.e., people) supported through advanced technology innovation. The DD 21 industry teams are conducting trade studies to determine the cost and performance associated with achieving a 95-person crew objective.

The survivability area supports development of system and protection concepts that reduce vulnerability to conventional weapons and peacetime accidents and enables, under reduced manning conditions, a rapid recovery of mission capability. Development areas include damage control computer-based systems that provide rapid systems restoration, fire protection devices that improve probability of survival with a reduced crew size, and ship protection concepts that reduce magazine and commercial equipment vulnerability.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:38:05 ZULU