The U.S. Navy has accepted delivery of the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), the second ship of the Zumwalt-class – the U.S. Navy’s largest and technologically most advanced class of guided-missile destroyers — from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) on April 24.
“Delivery of DDG 1001 follows extensive tests, trials and demonstrations of the ship’s HM&E [Hull, Mechanical and Electrical] systems including the boat handling, anchor and mooring systems as well as major demonstrations of the damage control, ballasting, navigation and communications systems,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement.
The delivery follows the successful completion of acceptance trials conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey — the service’s principal entity inspecting and reporting on a ship’s readiness for active duty operations — in February 2018. As with the first-of-class USS Zumwalt, slated to achieve initial operational capability in 2020, the Monsoor was delivered to the Navy last month with HM&E systems installed. The installation and activation of the guided-missile destroyer’s combat systems will take place in San Diego, California throughout 2018 and 2019 and is expected to be concluded by 2020. The Monsoor will be commissioned at its homeport in San Diego in January 2019.
Zumwalt-class destroyers feature distinct wave-piercing tumblehome hulls and a stealth design meant to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section. The destroyers are equipped with eighty MK57 vertical launch tubes, each capable of accommodating one to four missiles including SM-1, SM-2 and SM-6 missiles or Tomahawk land-attack missiles. The warships will also be armed with new long-range anti-ship missiles such as the Maritime Strike Tomahawk following a change of the mission requirements of the Zumwalt-class from a land-attack platform to surface warfare in November 2017. (The SM-6 surface-to-air missile can also be deployed as an anti-ship missile.)
The Zumwalt-class still lacks a projectile for its two main guns to be able to execute land-strike missions–up until November 2017 its primary mission requirement–as I explained previously:
With a cost of $800,000 to $1 million per Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) round, the precision ammunition has become too expensive for the service. LRLAP is the only ammunition specifically designed to be fired by the USS Zumwalt’s two 155 millimeter/62-caliber Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), the main armament of the ship with an estimated range of up to 63 nautical miles (72 miles, 115 kilometers).
The U.S. Navy still has to select a replacement. The third ship of the class, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), is currently under construction at BIW with delivery to the U.S. Navy scheduled for 2020.