Report to U.S.Congress on U.S. Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyers

The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016
The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016

The updated Congressional Research Service report for U.S. Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyers published on February 24, 2021. The summary of the report as follows.

Summary of the Report

The U.S. Navy began procuring Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, also known as Aegis destroyers, in 1985, and a total of 87 have been procured through 2021, including 2 in 2021. From 1989 through 2005, DDG-51s were procured in annual quantities of two to
five ships per year. Since 2010, they have been procured in annual quantities of one to three ships per year. The first DDG-51 entered service in 1991. The DDG-51 design has been modified and updated periodically over the years.

DDG-51s are being procured in 2018-2022 under a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract that U.S. Congress approved as part of its action on the U.S. Navy’s 2018 budget. DDG-51s procured in FY2017 and subsequent years are being built to a design called the Flight III design, which incorporates a new and more capable radar called the SPY-6 radar or the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).

amdr spy 6 system overview 1 - naval post- naval news and information

DDG-51 Flight III uses AN/SPY-6 (AMDR) (Image: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Navy refers to its cruisers and destroyers collectively as large surface combatants (LSCs).

The U.S. Navy’s current force-level goal, released in December 2016, calls for achieving and maintaining a fleet of 355 ships, including 104 LSCs. On December 9, 2020, the outgoing Trump Administration released a document that can be viewed as its own vision for future Navy force structure and/or a draft version of the 2022 30-year Navy shipbuilding plan. The document presents an envisioned Navy force-level goal for achieving by 2045 a Navy with a more distributed fleet architecture, including 382 to 446 manned ships and 143 to 242 large unmanned vehicles. Within the total of 382 to 446 manned ships, the document calls for maintaining a force of 73 to 88 LSCs. In determining its Navy force-level goals and shipbuilding plans, the Biden Administration can choose to adopt, revise, or set aside this document.

ddg51 flight iii us navy - naval post- naval news and information
Artists rendering of the first planned Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer (Source: HHI)

Issues for Congress include the future LSC force-level goal, annual DDG-51 procurement quantities for 2022 and subsequent fiscal years, and how the Navy proposes to transition several years from now from procurement of DDG-51s to procurement of a successor destroyer
design now in development called the DDG(X). Regarding annual DDG-51 procurement quantities and the transition to DDG(X) procurement, recent documents have shown the following:

 The U.S. Navy’s 2020 budget submission and 2020 30-year shipbuilding plan projected DDG-51s being procured during the period 2022-2025 in annual quantities of 2-3-3-2, with 2025 being the final year of DDG-51 procurement and the year that the first DDG(X) would be procured.

 The Navy’s 2021 budget submission projected DDG-51s being procured during the period 2022-FY2025 in annual quantities of 2-1-2-1, and for DDG51 procurement to end with the procurement of two final ships that would be procured in either 2026 (both ships) or 2026 and 2027 (one ship each year). Under this budget submission, DDG(X) procurement might begin around FY2028.

 The December 9, 2020, document released by the outgoing Trump
Administration projected DDG-51s being procured during the period 2022- FY2026 in annual quantities of 2-2-2-2-2. The document did not specify the final year of DDG-51 procurement, but press reports suggest that the Navy wants to procure the first DDG(X) around FY2028.

Read the full report here.

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