AT $3 billion per ship, the DDG-1000 destroyer has the ability to turn the tide in the coming years in the South Pacific. The stealth ship 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 require half the crew because of its automated systems and it appears on enemy radar.
The stealthy destroyers will one day be equipped with electromagnetic railguns to help combat the rise of China’s Navy and to better protect the United States’ interests around the world. “With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements, this is our future,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said in Maine at the shipyard where they are being built.
The biggest hurdle that the stealthy destroyers face is the huge costs associated with them. They each run a cool $3 billion dollars and when you add all of the tech and R&D costs the overall price tag reaches $7 billion. The Navy originally wanted 32 of them, then that was cut to 24, then seven.
“Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it,” said Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research institute in Washington. “Buying hyper-expensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can’t do the job, or worse can’t survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible.”
Look for the near future in the South China sea to get contentious due to China’s increasing inability to peacefully deal with their neighbors in the area. This in turn causes the smaller neighbors in the area to reach out to the United States for help, and this is the last thing that China wants.