The USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the lead ship of the U.S. Navy’s largest and technologically most advanced class of guided-missile destroyers, will be declared fully operational within days, according to source with knowledge of the program.
Installation of the Zumwalt’s combat system is expected to be completed “within days,” Defense News reported on March 28. “The ship was slated to have its installation completed in March, and the service is still on track to deliver on time, the source said,” according to the new report.
Once installation work aboard the Zumwalt is completed, the Navy’s new surface combatant will be fully entering service.
The USS Zumwalt was commissioned in October 2016. The follow-on ship, the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), was commissioned in January 2019 with the third ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyer, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) christened in April 2019. The last and final ship of the class is slated to be commissioned in 2021.
The 16,000-ton Zumwalt-class destroyers feature distinct wave-piercing tumblehome hulls and a stealth design meant to reduce the ships’ radar cross-section. The three ships of the class are powered by two Rolls-Royce main turbine generators and two Rolls-Royce auxiliary turbine generators and can reach top speeds of up to 33.5 knots (38.6 mph).
As I noted repeatedly in the past, the Zumwalt-class still lacks the proper ammunition for its main guns and has yet to identify a replacement. The class also remains incapable of executing land-strike missions for the time being:
Zumwalt-class destroyers are equipped with 80 MK57 vertical launch tubes, each capable of accommodating one to four SM-1, SM-2, and SM-6, or Tomahawk land-attack missiles. The stealth destroyers 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.
Additionally, I explained this February:
The Zumwalt-class may also eventually be armed with lasers and other high-tech weaponry given the class’ integrated power system, which can produce approximately 78 megawatts of power – almost as much as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
In May 2019, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its annual survey of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions criticized several aspects of the Zumwalt-class program. This included the lack of a suitable projectile for the Advanced Gun Systems, various design issues, and the ambitious delivery schedule.
Combat system activation of the USS Michael Monsoor is expected to be completed by the end of June, according to a Naval Sea Systems Command brief.