The Navy Is Getting 10 New Flight III Destroyers. And It Could Be a Game Changer.

October 2, 2018 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: ChinaRussiaNavyMilitaryTechnologyWorldU.S. Navy

The Navy Is Getting 10 New Flight III Destroyers. And It Could Be a Game Changer.

And really bad news for Russia or China. 

Adding large numbers of new next-generation destroyers will substantially change the Navy's ability to conduct major maritime warfare operations by enabling surface forces to detect enemy attacks at much farther distances, launch long-range strikes with greater precision and destructive force and disperse offensive forces across much wider swaths of ocean.

The US Navy has awarded deals for 10 new high-tech DDG 51 Flight III Destroyers and built in options to add even more ships and increase the "build rates" for construction of new warships - all as part of a massive strategic push to accelerate fleet growth and usher in a new era of warfighting technology for the Navy.

Six of the new destroyers will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in a $5 billion deal, and four of them were awarded to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for $3.9 billion, according to a Navy announcement. The acquisition is a multi-year procurement intended to reach from this year through 2022.

"We also have options for an additional five DDG 51s to enable us to continue to accelerate delivery of the outstanding DDG 51 Flight III capabilities to our Naval force," James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said in a written Navy statement.

Meanwhile, the Navy has now started construction on its first new Flight III DDG 51 surface warfare destroyer armed with improved weapons, advanced sensors and new radar 35-times more sensitive than most current systems, service officials announced.

 

Construction of the first DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class Flight III Destroyer is part of a sweeping Navy and Pentagon effort to speed up delivery of new warships and expand the surface fleet to 355 ships on an accelerated timeframe.

Navy Flight III Destroyers have a host of defining new technologies not included in current ships such as more on-board power to accommodate laser weapons, new engines, improved electronics, fast-upgradeable software and a much more powerful radar. The Flight III Destroyers will be able to see and destroy a much wider range of enemy targets at farther distances.

In fact, a new software and hardware enabled ship-based radar and fire control system, called Aegis Baseline 10, will drive a new technical ability for the ship to combine air-warfare and ballistic missile defense into a single system.

The AN/SPY-6 radar, also called Air and Missile Defense Radar, is engineered to simultaneously locate and discriminate multiple tracks.

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This means that the ship can succeed in more quickly detecting both approaching enemy drones, helicopters and low flying aircraft as well as incoming ballistic missiles.

The Raytheon-built AN/SPY-6(V) radar is reported by developers to be 35-times more powerful than existing ship-based radar systems; the technology is widely regarded as being able to detect objects twice as far away at one-half the size of current tracking radar.

The farther away ship commanders can see approaching threats, across the spectrum of potential attack weapons, the faster they are able to make time-sensitive decisions about which elements of a ship’s layered defense systems should be used.

​The AN/SPY-6 platform will enable next-generation Flight III DDG 51s to defend much larger areas compared with the AN/SPY-1D radar on existing destroyers. In total, the Navy plans as many as 22 Flight III DDG 51 destroyers, according to a previously completed Navy capabilities development document.

The AN/SPY-6 is being engineered to be easily reparable with replaceable parts, fewer circuit boards and cheaper components than previous radars, according to Raytheon developers; the AMDR is also designed to rely heavily on software innovations, something which reduces the need for different spare parts, Navy program managers have announced.

Service officials say the new ship uses newly integrated hardware and software with common interfaces will enable continued modernization in future years. Called TI 16 (Technical Integration), the added components are engineered to give Aegis Baseline 10 additional flexibility should it integrate new systems such as emerging electronic warfare or laser weapons

Earlier this year, the ship’s program manager Capt. Casey Moton said that special technological adaptations are being built into the new, larger radar system so that it can be sufficiently cooled and powered up with enough electricity. The AMDR will be run by 1000-volts of DC power.

The DDG Flight III’s will also be built with the same Rolls Royce power turbine engineered for the DDG 1000, yet designed with some special fuel-efficiency enhancements, according to Navy information.

The AMDR is equipped with specially configured cooling technology. The Navy has been developing a new 300-ton AC cooling plant slated to replace the existing 200-ton AC plant, Moton said.

Before becoming operational, the new cooling plant will need to have completed environmental testing which will assess how the unit is able to tolerate vibration, noise and shocks such as those generated by an underwater explosion, service officials said.