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Wow Moment: Navy Wants to Combine Stealth Destroyers and Hypersonic Missiles

Zumwalt-class
ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 21, 2016) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016 with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of DDG 1000, the future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) May 20, 2016. Following a crew certification period and October commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Zumwalt will transit to its homeport in San Diego for a Post Delivery Availability and Mission Systems Activation. DDG 1000 is the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, tailored for land attack and littoral dominance.

The first US Navy warfighting vessels to be armed with hypersonic missiles will be the stealth Zumwalt-class destroyers, the service’s top admiral said, according to USNI News.

While the Navy was expected to field hypersonic weaponry on its cruise-missile submarines first, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said at a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments event Tuesday that the service intended to start with the Zumwalts.

“Our biggest R&D effort is in hypersonics — to deliver that capability in 2025 on a surface ship and then on Block V [Virginia-class] submarines,” Gilday said, adding that fielding hypersonic weaponry aboard the Zumwalt-class destroyers would be an “important move” toward turning these ships into strike platforms.

The Zumwalt-class destroyers were designed to fight in littoral waters, carrying out land-attack and naval-fire support missions. Their primary weapon was to be the Advanced Gun System, consisting of a pair of 155 mm guns.

Written By

Ryan Pickrell is a senior military and defense reporter at Business Insider, where he covers the Pentagon and defense-related issues from Washington, DC.

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