NavWeek: Destroyer Identity

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Slowly, but surely, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer has started to take on the feel of a real U.S. Navy warship.

“Now the passageways look and feel like a live ship,” says Raytheon Defense Systems Seapower Capability Vice President Kevin Peppe. “The biggest difference is that there is a sense of wholeness about it.” Raytheon was responsible for the development of software and systems throughout the Zumwalt.

Since its inception, the Zumwalt has suffered a bit of destroyer identity crisis. With parts of the newly designed ship being developed and built in different parts of the country, the ship spent much of its early development seemingly existing only in PowerPoint presentations.

Consequently, there was little to say to answer criticism that the ship would never operate the way it was meant to.

But now the destroyer’s parts have been mated and the vessel has taken on the appearance of, well, a warship.

On Oct. 19, the Zumwalt was supposed to take one of its biggest strides yet toward proving that it, indeed, can be the destroyer of the future – its christening. The government shutdown, however, has postponed the milestone celebration.

It would have been quite a feather in Raytheon’s cap, coming so soon after the Navy picked the company to be its Air & Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) prime earlier this month.

The ship is still coming alive, though, even as the christening gets put off. “Software is activating in the ship,” says Tom Moore, DDG-1000 program director for Raytheon. “She’s coming to life very fast.”

To learn more about the ups and downs the Zumwalt has endured thus far – and to get an idea of the Navy’s struggles with its own destroyer plans, as well as a snapshot of AMDR development  until now— see the following series of stories previously published by the Aviation Week Intelligence Network:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/AWeek/Ares/Come_About_Final_reprint.PDF

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