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    USS Zumwalt’s Hypersonic Transformation: Artillery Out, Missiles In by 2025

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    The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) has embarked on a significant transformation to become one of the most formidable assets in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. 、

    USS ZUMWALT DDG-1000. United States Navy guided missile destroyer. Vector image for illustrations and infographics.
    USS ZUMWALT DDG-1000. United States Navy guided missile destroyer. Vector image for illustrations and infographics.

    The technologically advanced guided-missile destroyer, which arrived at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on August 19, 2023, is set to undergo a monumental upgrade to its weapon systems.

    USS Zumwalt” by cmfgu is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Navy has awarded HII a $154.8 million contract to retrofit the Zumwalt with hypersonic missiles, aiming for the ship to be ready for deployment by 2025.

    The Zumwalt’s relocation to Pascagoula marks the beginning of a two-year period of modernization that will see the installation of the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missile system.

    USS Zumwalt arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    This system, a cooperative development between the U.S. Army and the Navy, utilizes Common Hypersonic Glide Bodies (C-HGB) that can strike targets anywhere on the globe with minimal warning—a capability that fundamentally alters the strategic calculus in modern warfare.

    USS Zumwalt is on the final leg of its three-month journey to its new homeport in San Diego.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    “USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) arrived in Pascagoula, Miss., today to enter a modernization period and receive technology upgrades including the integration of the Conventional Prompt Strike weapon system,” reads a statement from the Navy provided to USNI News.

    USS Zumwalt is on the final leg of its three-month journey to its new homeport in San Diego.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    “The upgrades will ensure Zumwalt remains one of the most technologically advanced and lethal ships in the U.S. Navy.”

    USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) departs San Diego as part of an operational underway.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The retrofitting process involves the removal of the original twin 155mm Advanced Gun Systems—a move propelled by the impractical costs associated with maintaining these systems.

    The Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), passes beneath the Broadway Bridge as the ship transits to Portland, Oregon for Portland Fleet Week 2022. (52136991794)” by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasmine Suarez via Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of America is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    With the Navy’s decision to shift the focus of the Zumwalt-class destroyers from close shore operations to blue water environments, the once costly and dysfunctional deck guns will be replaced by four 87-inch missile tubes capable of holding three C-HGB missiles each, totaling 12 missiles onboard the Zumwalt.

    An F-35 Lightning II completes a flyover of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The CPS program faces the daunting task of integrating this novel technology into the DDG 1000, with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) having previously expressed concerns about meeting the planned deployment schedule. Delays in the development of the hypersonic weapon system might necessitate an extension of the ship’s maintenance period or a deferral to the next scheduled period for incorporating the system.

    USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) sits pierside while participating in San Francisco Fleet Week 2019.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    “The CPS program office noted that significant scope and challenges associated with the first-time integration of CPS may present risks to achieving DDG 1000’s installation schedule. In reviewing CPS program office information on critical technologies, we found that significant work remains for the program to demonstrate technology maturity,” reads the report.“If the hypersonic weapon is not ready for integration on the DDG 1000 at the time of the aforementioned maintenance period, the Navy may have to extend the duration of the planned maintenance period or wait for the next scheduled period to incorporate the system on the ship.”

    USS Zumwalt arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Despite these challenges, the Navy remains committed to fielding the hypersonic weapons on the Zumwalt by the December 2025 deadline. This schedule aligns with the larger strategic goal of deploying the weapon in the Virginia Payload Module on Block V Virginia-class attack submarines by 2029.

    related images you might be interested.

    USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) conducts a live-fire missile exercise.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter flies by USS Zumwalt” by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    USS Zumwalt (13081689784)” by Paul VanDerWerf from Brunswick, Maine, USA is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    USS Michael Monsoor departs the Bath Iron Works shipyard.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    USS Zumwalt” by cmfgu is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits under the Golden Gate Bridge during San Francisco Fleet Week 2021.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    Zumwalt’s Inverted Bow” by sjrankin is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
    USS Michael Monsoor” by Larry Myhre is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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