The US Navy’s new generation of Zumwalt-class destroyers have just a cool look. They are loaded with advanced missiles and cannons, They have stealth features that evade radar. And it is one of the first classes of all-electric ships.
Now the Zumwalt will be armed with even more lethal weapons, enough to make the destroyer one of the deadliest ships in the world. In fact, the Zumwalt class will add a hypersonic weapon to its arsenal. Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missiles to be launched from destroyers one day, Let’s see what it means.
CPS, like other hypersonics, will reach speeds in excess of Mach-5. The missile can maneuver in flight and has a range of thousands of kilometres. The CPS will have a conventional weapon, but it can still be considered strategic. There are plans to have four or more missiles aboard the Zumwalt, and will carry the Common Hypersonic Glide Corps warhead, after the CPS is successfully tested in 2021.
Zumwalt Advanced Gun Systems Has Experienced Development Problems, and these 155mm gun mounts can be removed to make more room for the CPS. (The Navy has not taken a final call on this.) The destroyers themselves have become quite expensive, costing $4.5 billion each. It is not clear how much it will cost to add CPS.
Only three Zumwalt destroyers were built.
The Zumwalt class consists of three destructors. USS Zumwalt It was commissioned in 2016; USS Michael Mansoor in 2018; And this USS Lyndon B Johnson, which was released in 2018, is set to become operational later this year. These ships cost more than $22,000 million in research and development.
The Zumwalts are 600 feet long and have 158 sailors aboard. They can be sailing at 30 knots and displace about 16,000 tons. The ships have 78 MW of power, enough to power a small town, and are equipped with teeth. They can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles as well as ESSM anti-aircraft cruise missile defenders and can fire from the Mk57 Vertical Launch System.
But the ships have faced some problems., The Zumwalt once stopped in the Panama Canal in 2016. Michael Mansoor had a problem during sea trials in 2017.
Military Watch magazine said in 2018 that: “They have almost completely failed to fulfill the originally intended role of multi-role destroyer warships, while the scale of the cost alone casts doubt on the viability of the programme, Even if the destroyers were able to act as intended.
Flip the script with a new mission
The Zumwalt-class advanced gun system is not working. It has a shorter range than advertised and GPS-guided projectiles cost more than $700,000 per round. The Navy may buy another cruise missile at that price. As such, the service has moved away from the initial vision of using Zumwalt’s guns for shoreline bombing, and is now looking to use the orbit for missile attacks against other ships. The hypersonic weapon could, if needed, give the Navy a tool to hit targets deep inside China. For this reason, the inclusion of a hypersonic weapon could give the Zumwalt a new opportunity.
Can three destroyers make a difference in the Indo-Pacific? With Hypersonics the answer is yes. Without the new weapons, the Zumwalts’ mission is unclear. Perhaps they can take on the role of field marshal, controlling unmanned ships. The ships cannot conduct anti-submarine warfare, and will not conduct maritime security missions that require boarding a ship. However, the addition of hypersonic weaponry gives proponents of the ship a new narrative that may keep opponents at bay and perhaps lead Congress to believe that the Zumwalt deserves the extra funding.