21 thoughts on “The Zumwalt”

  1. What this lacks, as did the Arsenal Ship concept and the Ohio-class SSGNs before it, is a cruise missile cheap enough to produce and use by the tens of thousands.

    1. OTOH, the Army and Air Force have shown that with GPS-guided munitions you don’t need “tens of thousands”.

      1. OTOH the Army, Air Force and Navy have not gone up against anyone who is anywhere close to ‘peer’ with a decent air defense system.
        Also, it need Anti-ship, and that’s where you need 100’s to swamp a fleets’ defensive systems – something the USSR/China acknowledge but the west is still stuck on ‘golden bullets’.

  2. The article fails to mention that the Navy is studying the process of modifying the AGS guns to fire the US Army’s 155mm Excalibur guided round. At $70k each the Excalibur round would cost less than a tenth of the proposed LRLAP round.

  3. AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar

    When they light that thing up, I’m pretty sure the enemy will at least suspect it’s not a fishing boat.

    If the Navy wants a survivable ship, it needs to be very large so the armor (preferably with a titanium ceramic composite hull) can take almost any number of hits from existing anti-ship weapons, forcing those weapons to become larger, far more expensive, harder to deploy, and more detectable. And of course the Navy will need a lot of them, so the budget hit will be almost infinite.

    1. From the article: “stealthy antiship missiles guided by artificial intelligence.”

      Who saw that the first Bolo was going to be a ship from General Dynamics instead of a tank from General Motors?

      Looking at this I wonder if the shorter range of the Excalibur round has any worth on a modern naval battlefield?

  4. Isn’t the Zumwalt a new class of destroyer (granted, the size of a cruiser) that has turned out to be so screwed up that the Navy is dropping the class altogether after only two ships and ordering a new flight of Arleigh Burke class destroyers?

  5. From the criticism I have read, these don’t seem like the ships you want to send off alone unless you don’t want them coming back. But if they need a purpose, do as the author suggested with the missile silos but keep them with carrier battle groups.

    The Space Show had some guests on recently that were working on a rocket that can launch from silos that could hold an SM-3 (IIRC). The potential exists to use the Zumwalts as more than just a missile platform but also to launch theatre specific satellites.

  6. I would do several things to the Zumwalt class. Keep a single 155mm gun. Make the 155mm gun use the same cheaper ammunition as Army artillery (M1156 Precision Guidance Kit). The rest of the space would be filled with as many VLS cells as possible. At least as many VLS cells as in the Ticonderoga class but possibly more. Replace the radar with the one originally intended for it, the Dual Band Radar used in the Ford class carrier, so it can shoot the SM-3. Produce them in numbers enough to replace the Ticonderoga-class.
    Contrary to what a lot of people think, the Zumwalt-class is not that much more expensive per unit than a Burke-class Flight III destroyer. Most of the expense was due to R&D costs and low production rates.

    If the radar is too expensive then they can keep the older one for now. If they have more money, I think it would be interesting to design a twin barrel 155mm gun similar to the Russian AK-130 for it.

  7. With research and development costs $7.5 billion per ship.

    Which is about 3 subs which are even stealthier. The cost of stealth in a surface ship is lost the moment it engages in battle.

    If killing ships is the goal, PT boats were the answer. Not flashy, but losing one doesn’t reduce your fighting ability much. This is what the Chinese are basically doing which would over whelm a $7.5b ship.

    Build a stealth PT Boat carrier instead which would also be a fuel and torpedo tender.

    If ordnance cost more than the ship you plan to kill that seems like a mistake?

      1. ‘Depend’ means point of failure. ‘Have,’ then I agree.

        The boats could have different types of weapons (not multiple types per boat which defeats the point of being cheap) but not carry many shots since the tender would keep them on station. They’d also act as a screen for the tender which, because it itself doesn’t engage would not give it’s position away. While not a submersible, its hull could be very low to the surface (mostly subsurface) with water ballast. Making stealth much less expensive. It doesn’t need to be a fast ship and its boats take care of littoral access (another class of ship we can do without.)

        Trying to make the Zumwalt into something it can’t be is just wasting more money.

        Radar wouldn’t be on the tender, but networked in. The tender could have a railgun and nuclear propulsion (but both would be secondary to its purpose.)

      1. The EMP game is mostly about power. You can harden your electronics, but that can be defeated by a more powerful EMP burst.

        What is it about EMP that is nonsense?

          1. Good link, thanks Ctrot. That’s why in the abundance of sources there is wisdom.

            You don’t recover from an “EMP” attack by rebooting the computer and just going on about your business.

            Most military systems (where they can) have non computerized backup systems to keep things functioning so it might not need to be towed? I’d like to believe a $2b system would still have some defensive capabilities when the lights go out?

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