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DDG 1000 Costs Soar by $3 Billion

The cost for the Navy’s new DDG 1000 destroyer have risen by $3 billion since 2009, raising the cost per ship by roughly $1 billion, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service.

The total price for all three of the Navy’s planned DDG 1000 destroyers -- DDG 1000, DDG 1001 and DDG 1002 – was listed at $8.9 billion in the fiscal year 2009 budget, according to figures released by the CRS report. The cumulative projected price for the same three ships in fiscal year 2015 is now slated at $12 billion, according to the report.

First envisioned in the 1990s, the DDG 1000 is a high-tech, multi-mission guided missile destroyer designed for land-attack and littoral missions, among other things.  A large part of the costs are likely wrapped in many of the next-generation technologies engineered into the ship. The ship is built with a radar cross-section reducing tumblehome hull and an electric drive propulsion system.

The first of three planned Zumwalt-class destroyers, the DDG 1000, was christened in April of this year. In April of 2009, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works was awarded a contract from the Navy to build three Zumwalt-class destroyers. DDG 1001 is already 75-percent complete and fabrication of DDG 1002 was slated to begin in April of this year, Navy officials said.

The DDG 1000 is built with what’s called dual-band sonar technology which uses both medium and high-frequency detection. Medium sonar frequency is engineered to detect ships and submarines, whereas high-frequency sonar adds the ability to avoid sea-mines, said Raytheon's Wade Knudson, DDG 1000 program manager.

The ship also has a 155mm long range, precision-capable gun called the Advanced Gun System made by BAE Systems. The weapon can, among other things, fire a munition called the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile, which can strike target at ranges out to 64 nautical miles.

The report points out that some of the cost growth in the earlier years of the program is due to the fact that the program was truncated from seven ships down to three.  Lowering the number of planned ships reduces the quantity of materials needed for purchase, thereby raising prices on what needs to be procured to build the ships.

The platform is engineered to have a reduced crew size of 142 sailors, compared to the roughly 300 sailors needed aboard Navy Aegis destroyer and cruisers, the report said. This is due to an effort to increase automation and computer technology on board the ship to improve performance and reduce operating and support costs.

Also, with a displacement of 15,482 tons, the DDG 1000 is 65-percent larger than existing 9,500-ton Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

The ship's integrated power system, which includes its electric propulsion, helps generate up to 58 megawatts of on-board electrical power, something seen as key to the future when it comes to ship technologies and the application of anticipated future weapons systems such as laser weapons and rail guns.

 

The ship is also built with a new kind of vertical launch tubes that are engineered into the hull near the perimeter of the ship. Called the Peripheral Vertical Launch System, the tubes are integrated with the hull around the ship's periphery in order to ensure that weapons can keep firing should the ship be damaged. Instead of having all of the launch tubes in succession or near one another, the DDG 1000 has spread them out in order to mitigate risk in the event attack, Knudson said.

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