An artist's rendering of the next-generation Navy warship, the DDG 1002 Zumwalk Class Warship, which is being designed and built by General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works. The ship is expected to be on line in fiscal 2018.
Very sci-fi looking and the idea of shooting laser beams--that certainly puts the warship in a next-gen class. I'm curious as to how often the Navy rolls out a next-generation ship and what the typical life span is on these vessels. Any one have any clue?
Beth, these are good questions. Navy ships last a very long time. In the 1990s we were still using battleships built during WWII. They could still be in use, but the decision was made to produce new ships instead of keeping the old ones. These are large machines and it is easy to fit them out with new equipment over time. The battleships I mentioned, were outfitted with cruise missles and Phalanx gun system, which were not even concieved of when they were built. Frankly, with something as large as a combat ship, putting laser weapons or rail guns is not a big deal. They could be put on existing ships today, and probably would be.
Good question. I'm curious about the cost too. The article says that less manpower can be used in these more powerful vessels. Is the lower payroll balanced out by the higher cost or is there long-term savings?
This next-gen warship is sooner than expected but right on time given that we move faster through cycles-fashion, innovation, etc.-than ever before. It's good to see the navy addressing noise pollution in the ocean.
Naval warships take a lot of beatings, whether it be from Mother Nature, pounding seas, storms, etc. of from NGS. I worry about automation, and builders trying to cut corners to save on the budgets. It will be the crews that pay the price for their oversight.
These ships MUST be tested in all types of conditions to the fullest extent possible, and the longest time possible.
@JDT: I agree. I bet there was and still is a serious simulation aspect to this ship to test all types of conditions whether related to the weather or to different types of at-sea battle scenarios. It would be interesting to inside the war-room of sorts to see what is being conducted.
Nice article, Elizabeth. When Bath rattles off details such as "electric drive/integrated power systems, automated ship control and damage control systems, and a totally integrated, ship-wide command and control system," it sounds like a modern factory.
i seriously doubt a rail gun will ever be deployed as a standard weapon as it tends to destroy itself in a few rounds. With all the problems with it guided rockets are a far better weapon.
An the real future weapon should be a low pressure cannon launching guided projectiles or missles we already have, just modied to launch from th 50-80', 24'' dia fixed at 45deg or so gives warheads 100-500 mile range at a % of the cost of a cruise missle.
Next we just can't afford the oil to run these. They need a small nuke like the Hyperion 100Mw heat source steam generator powering the propulsion and house. When docked can supply the base with electric.
Facts are this too big and easily damaged. Better go to a Tri hull with the outer ones protecting the inner one from fighting damage. Other advantages is on a 500' Tri you can do an aircraft carrier as so much deck. Destroyers, Cruiser like above only 250-300' long.
No Navy can bring up 10% of ours so greatly increasing size, numbers, tech makes no sense when smaller, more economical, survivable craft able to put far more ordnance on target farther away run on mini inherently safe nukes would make a better future we might be able to afford.
And maybe a gov that stops starting wars over oil so the navy can do things like diaster relief, etc instead so we might be better received in other lands and less wanting to kill us. Just a thought. PS Saves a lot of money too.
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