In 2023, the U.S. Navy will purchase one of the most advanced large surface combatants which will be one of the most capable ships. The type will have the Arleigh Burke Flight III combat system with a combo of the DDG-51 and DDG-1000 design as its inspiration.
Its designation will not be a cruiser but slightly bigger than an Arleigh Burke Flight III design that will be designed for more future upgrade. This statement came from the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96), reported USNI.
The new combatant will have the best attributes of current combats ship in service. Take in a destroyer capability that is a larger platform, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and FFG-X (future frigate), capabilities of a large or medium USV, and a linked network to share combat data on the battlefield. Navy leaders have agreed on those capabilities for the next combat ship. When the final design is complete, the new warship covers the dimensions of those capabilities.
Based on the ICD completed, the navy will have a ship that integrates into the battle network as a command unit, sensor, or as a weapon system controlled by a command. These linked assets assure a linked combat system. According to Surface Warfare Director Adm. Ron Boxall, saying that it will be starting into the design, cited Defense Media Network.
What hull will be
First, the vessel will be based on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer design, which is a smaller version of the Ticonderoga-class cruiser. Most important is keeping the best capabilities in a smaller size, instead of moving to bigger ships. Part of it is making these vessels more advanced with new capabilities in combat.
Adding the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) as a complement to the Aegis Combat System that makes up the Flight III design, which will soldier on as one of the most advanced systems. The platform is expected to continue its dominance on the high seas.
According to Boxall, the new ship will have more functions added to it, and there are more innovative changes in the platform that will be included. This is about the Arleigh-Burke class and its overall characteristics, that come with it. One to note is the power generation that will come useful for next-generation applications.
Though the DDD Flight III has all the best requirement for the next surface combatant, there is room to expand on the Arleigh design further. Plans are in the works to put the system into a brand-new hull design to increase its fighting capacity.
Requirements of the next generation
Expected changes in the next generation of U.S. Navy vessels will be crucial in the final design. One of these needs will be having enough deck space for helicopters and unmanned systems. Next will be the capacity to have long-range missiles and weapons, including command and control systems for aerial defense and attack. One other proviso is for the ship to act as controller and be connected to other systems.
The next platform will not be as big as the Ticonderoga but more on the Arleigh-Burke class, Zumwalt class with the capacity to modularize and expand for future upgrades. The U.S. navy does want a large surface combatant, but that will be resolved when it is decided on.