Can the Navy’s New DDG(X) Destroyers Do It All?

Can the Navy’s New DDG(X) Destroyers Do It All?

 Two of America’s biggest shipbuilders are creating a new class of warship.

Ingalls Shipbuilding division, the company behind the United States Navy’s upcoming Next-Generation Guided-Missile Destroyers has been awarded a “cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for engineering and design from the U.S. Navy for the next-generation guided-missile destroyer (DDG(X)) program,” according to a statement from Huntington Ingalls Industries, the shipbuilder umbrella group.

“We are excited to continue on this path with our Navy and industry partners,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said in the Huntington Ingalls Industries statement. “It provides us a tremendous opportunity to bring best practices and innovation from our experienced engineering team to the design of this important future surface combatant.”

The statement further explained that “Ingalls Shipbuilding is a major contractor and shipbuilding partner in the Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) program that has been in production for three decades. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are multi-mission ships that can provide offensive and defensive capabilities, and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States military strategy.”

It added that “DDG(X) will be the next generation large surface combatant for the U.S. Navy, and is being designed by a Navy-industry collaborative team consisting of the Navy and both large surface combatant shipbuilders.”

Bath Iron Works, the United States’ other shipbuilding heavyweight, also released a statement covering the contract award. “Bath Iron Works is eager to bring our cutting edge engineering and design expertise, now applied to the DDG 51 program, to the next generation of large surface combatants,” Chuck Krugh, Bath Iron Works’ president explained.

“The opportunity to work alongside HII and our industry partners to meet the Navy’s needs for capability, schedule and cost will result in synergies that build on other extremely successful Navy construction programs.”

The DDG(X) — also known as the Next-Generation Guided-Missile Destroyer — is the United States Navy’s newest class of warship and one that fills an upcoming gap in United States Navy capabilities.

The U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, currently the backbone of the United States Navy and the Navy’s most prolific warship since World War II, has been steadily modified and upgraded as new technologies entered American naval service

However, that Cold War-era warship is rapidly approaching the limits of upgradability, necessitating a replacement.

In tandem with the Arleigh Burke-class eventual retirement, the Next-Generation Guided-Missile Destroyers will also replace the Ticonderoga-class guided missile destroyers, a warship class that excels in an air defense role but lacks some of the higher-end offensive capabilities of its Arleigh Burke-class counterpart.

The Next-Generation Guided-Missile Destroyers then will attempt to split the difference between the two ships by offering both a robust anti-aircraft and anti-missile defensive capability as well as a strong anti-surface ship ability.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy.