US Zumwalt destroyers first to get hypersonic missiles under new deal
Lockheed Martin has secured a contract worth a potential US$2 billion to install Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missile launchers on the US Navy's three Zumwalt-class destroyers by the middle of the decade.
When the Zumwalt class was conceived, it was intended as the "21st-century destroyer" that would meet the needs of the US Navy in a changing world. Unlike earlier destroyers, the Zumwalt would be a technological marvel that would incorporate all sorts of advanced systems inside a stealth tumbledown hull that wouldn't look out of place in a futuristic movie, yet had the radar profile of a fishing boat.
The Zumwalt would not only be larger than other destroyers, but also many cruisers and it would pack the long-range firepower of a battleship. But what truly made the Zumwalt concept stand out was its role, which was that of a multi-mission warship that could be used in littoral seas to support land operations, yet also take to blue water areas for surface, anti-aircraft, and other tasks.
The problem was that the Zumwalt project was plagued by controversies by the time USS Zumwalt was launched in 2016. Production delays, cost overruns that brought in a price tag per ship of US$8 billion, and the embarrassment of the class ship breaking down in the middle of the Panama Canal, plus questions about its design, resulted in only three out of a planned 32 being built.
For years, the Zumwalt class had the dubious reputation of being a trio of ships without a mission, but the new Lockheed contract will see it become the first to carry the CPS surface-launched, sea-based hypersonic strike missiles. Capable of controlled flight at speeds in excess of Mach 5, these will be so fast that they can penetrate current air defense systems and have enough inertial energy to destroy a target simply by impact.
Under the contract, Lockheed and subcontractors Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Mission Systems will provide launcher systems, weapon control, platform integration, and All Up Rounds (AURs), which are the integrated missile components.
In addition, Lockheed will supply AURs plus canisters to the US Army for its Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW). The common AUR means that hypersonic missiles can be launched from ships, submarines, land-based mobile launchers, and other platforms.
"Lockheed Martin continues to advance hypersonic strike capability for the United States through this new contract," said Steve Layne, vice president of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin. "Early design work is already underway. Our team looks forward to supporting the war fighter by providing more options to further protect America at sea."
Source: Lockheed Martin
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
Over 8 billion a ship 4.5 without R&D costs plus 660 million for missile setup so 5.1 billion per ship, that is a lot of money to purposely put in harms way. Ships with the best toys always have the biggest bullseye on them.
Nothing they have in Ukraine is even close, that's why they're losing.
I think the price would've fell if we could've had Trump negotiate a better deal, none of that cost-plus garbage. I'd rather have a fleet of 100 Zumwalts then a dozen carriers. In any real war, those will be the first things sunk, and just a single carrier has roughly 5000 sailors, and loads of ammo & aircraft, all sunk. So dumb.
The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic rocket is not used in Ukraine. Howver it is actually after long tests now deployed aboard the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate, as it is meant for marine warfare. Other Russian ships will follow. This means more or less the death knell for the big aircraft carriers as one rocket on the flightdeck and these outdated giants will be ready for scrap.
The American hypersonic weapon will be deployed “by the middle of the decade”.
So Russia is far ahead of the USA in this matter.
Please be very precise in these matters, as it is about lives of people in the end.
So much and so many far better things could have been done with that money.
It’s insane and morally undefencable imho!