Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Face It, Zumwalt Isn't a Combat Vessel

The 3-ship Zumwalt class of super destroyers won't have a round for its gun. Face it, the ship is really only suited as a platform to test new technologies and not a part of the fleet.

Thus ends the Zumwalt combat mission:

A year after the Navy decided to abandon the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer, there is no plan in place for a replacement round for the Advanced Gun System (AGS) the ships are built around, service officials said on Wednesday.

Instead, officials at Naval Sea Systems Command and the Chief of Naval Operations staff will monitor new technologies that could be incorporated into the BAE Systems-built 155mm AGS.

Without mass-producing the ships, the cost of the rounds is prohibitive. And apparently putting a 5" standard gun in the turret isn't an option for whatever reason.

The article notes that the ship is formally an anti-ship platform now rather than a shore-bombardment ship--a change that makes only a bit more sense. The earlier mission was nonsense while the new mission is impractical.

The only real mission for such a small class of ships that don't work well with other non-stealthy ships is to be a technology test platform.

Now if we could get rail guns to work, that would be a fine addition to a network-centric anti-ship capability. (That post is so old that Zumwalt is called DD (X).)