Several days ago we did a piece on how expensive the new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier was. At over $12,000,000,000 we asked the obvious, can we afford it? Well if you thought that was expensive for an aircraft carrier wait until you hear about the US Navy’s newest destroyer the USS Zumwalt. This new class of destroyer was designed with confronting China in mind and like the Ford it incorporates whiz-bang technology to accomplish its mission. Similar to the Ford the ship is designed to be super stealthy producing a radar cross-section roughly equal to a small fishing boat according to the Washington Post.
“The DDG-1000 and other stealth destroyers of the Zumwalt class feature a wave-piercing hull that leaves almost no wake, electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar and missiles. They are longer and heavier than existing destroyers — but will have half the crew because of automated systems and appear to be little more than a small fishing boat on enemy radar.
Down the road, the ship is to be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun, which uses a magnetic field and electric current to fire a projectile at several times the speed of sound.”
Of course there is a catch, which is the cost of these new ships is outrageous as they go for around $3,000,000,000 a pop. According to the article the US Navy originally wanted somewhere around 32 of the ships but that number has been repeatedly slashed because of the price and now there are only plans for 3 at this time. Unlike the Ford class aircraft carriers I can’t deny that the navy needs new destroyers but at that price and only being able to get 3 of them sure makes you think something has to give. The US Navy desperately needs ships that can fulfill operational needs in various scenarios with China but how do these ships deliver that if there too expensive to buy in a number that will actually matter?