Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Zumwalt is No Destroyer

Says Strategypage. My sentiments exactly!

The new class of destroyers, the Zumwalts, aren't really destroyers. They're cruisers. The current American cruisers are built on the same hull as are U.S. destroyers. Why the U.S. Navy persists in calling these 9,000 ton ships "destroyers" is something of a mystery. In the rest of the world, even the term "destroyer" is falling out of favor. Traditionally, you had destroyers, cruisers and "capital ships" (once battleships, now aircraft carriers). Today, the preferred progression is, frigates, cruisers, capital ships. It appears to be kind of a PC thing, with the term "destroyer" now considered a bit too rough for the ears of voters.

But the LCS is. I agree as well:

That's one reason for the LCS. There are a lot of dangerous jobs that destroyers used to do, because they were cheap and "expendable." But today's destroyers are too expensive to risk like that. So we have the LCS, a "destroyer" for the 21st century.

In a related article, Defense Industry Daily on US Naval Shipbuilding Challenges:

"In the past, the Navy has had shipbuilding production plans that included 34 Spruance class destroyers, 30 Aegis Cruisers, 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, and 54 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates - very large production runs over relatively short periods of time. Needless to say, those production rates are just not feasible with ships like DD (X), CG (X), CVN21, and Virginia class submarines. We need a new shipbuilding model that can cost-effectively provide significant increases in capability at low rates of production."