There has been talk about adding new capabilities to the Zumwalt and her two sister ships, the USS Michael Monsoor and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, the latter two of which are in various stages of fitting out. These additions could include a new radar, as well as finally replacing the destroyer’s two ammoless 155mm main guns, a saga you read about more in this past War Zone piece.
No matter what, the Navy only expects to receive these three DDG-1000s, down from its original plans to acquire a fleet of 32 of these ships. The total program cost for the ships and the advanced technologies within them, at last check, was $26 billion. The trio has long looked set to have an, at best, limited operational utility, and they will all be assigned to Surface Development Squadron One, a unit primarily focused on testing and evaluating new systems, including unmanned platforms, and tactics, techniques, and procedures to go with them.
Still, Zumwalt has now proven its ability, and as a result that of the ships in its class, to make it through very rough seas, an important milestone that puts it one step closer to being able to carry out operational missions, no matter how limited, in more challenging environments.
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