WASHINGTON: The Navy and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works have announced that the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), had completed its builders trials — an important milestone to demonstrating the ship’s operational capabilities and ending a dragged out acquisition process for the three-ship class.
“Trials provide an opportunity for the Navy and industry team to test the capability and readiness of the ship,” Capt. Matthew Schroeder, DDG-1000 program manager for the Navy, said in a statement Thursday. “DDG-1002 is a warship that is going to equip our fleet with next-generation capability and capacity for the high-end fight.”
The Zumwalt destroyer has proven a difficult buy for the Navy, to put it lightly. Designed with a hull form made to create a low radar profile, the service truncated its initial buy of 24 ships down to just three after encountering various cost overruns. Its Advanced Gun System, designed for long range naval gunfire support, was ultimately scrapped due to being too expensive to fire the ammunition.
With the gun system no longer an option, Navy brass have signaled they will strive to ultimately deploy the service’s premiere hypersonic weapon, Conventional Prompt Strike, onboard the Zumwalt class.
“I definitely need deeper magazines, physically deeper magazines, to be able to handle hypersonics,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told Breaking Defense in February. “And what I want as a testbed for that, the first surface ships that are going to have hypersonics, are going to be the Zumwalts. That’s a focus for us, to field that system on the Zumwalt destroyers so that we can prove it and field it fast, and then scale it.”
The service in recent years has opted to conduct further experimentation with the Zumwalt class through the Surface Development Squadron, which was initially established to test out various unmanned surface vehicles destined to reach in the fleet in the coming decade.
Last Zumwalt Destroyer Completes Builder’s Trials – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense is written by Justin Katz for breakingdefense.com