By Geoff Fein

While DDG-1000 can carry and shoot off the Standard Missile-2 (SM), it can’t, as currently configured, communicate with the SM once it is fired, according to a top Navy official.

The inability of DDG-1000 to "talk" with SM-2 is one of several reasons that the ship can’t perform area air defense or ballistic missile defense, Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources (N8), told attendees yesterday during a speech to the Surface Navy Association.

The Navy has invested $80 million to develop an X-band communications link so the ship and missile can talk, and the service is evaluating further funding for this effort in Program Objective Memorandum (POM) 10, McCullough said.

But the Navy is set on turning to DDG-51s to fulfill the ballistic missile defense and area air defense need, he said.

Earlier this spring, talk began about the possibility that the Navy would truncate its DDG-1000 program and look to build more of the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

During the summer, the Navy made its pitch to Congress to build just two of the Zumwalt class of combat ships. The change in course, Navy officials said, was a result of a threat assessment showing a need for combating foes who have improved blue-water capabilities and ballistic missiles (Defense Daily, Aug. 1).

Northrop Grumman [NOC] and General Dynamics [GD] both were awarded construction contracts for the first two Zumwalt class ships earlier this year.

Raytheon [RTN] builds the Standard Missile.

McCullough told the gathering that the change in plans best aligns the surface combatant strategy to meet the Navy’s warfighting needs.

"We face a growing proliferation of ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles. Anti-ship cruise missiles pose an increased risk to our forces," he said. "They are expanding their reach with high end capability."

There has also been an increased need for ballistic missile defense and area air defense capabilities, McCullough added.

"The demand from combatant commanders is for ballistic missile defense, integrated air missile defense and ASW," he said. "[Those are] best provide by DDG-51 and not the surface naval fire support optimized in DDG-1000."

Combatant commanders continue to request more surface ships, McCullough noted.

"Southern Command has consistently required surface combatants. That largely goes unfilled," he said.

And as the Navy continues to review its force structure plans in support of developing POM ’10, officials are finding increased capability gaps, particularly in the area of ballistic missile defense, McCullough added.

McCullough did have praise for DDG-1000. The ship, he noted, was designed to be optimized in the littoral environment."The Dual Band Radar has better capability in a high clutter environment. Low power, high frequency sonar is more effective in shallow water," he said. "However, as currently configured, DDG-1000 cannot perform area air defense."

And DDG-1000 is less effective in active blue water Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) than DDG-51, McCullough said.

Defending against advanced anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles is better handled by DDG-51, he added. "From the Navy’s perspective, using DDG-1000 to support these missions is unaffordable."

One shortcoming of DDG-1000, McCullough mentioned in response to a question, was that while DDG-1000 can carry and launch the SM-2, it can’t communicate with the missile once it is in flight.

According to the Navy, DDG-1000 cannot employ SM-2, SM-3 or SM-6, and BMD capability is not included in the ship’s Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE). "Additional Research and Development investment through 2013 would be required for DDG-1000 to have these capabilities."

Raytheon developed TSCE.

"The proposed DDG-51s beginning with DDG-113 would include the Advanced Capability Build 12 (ACB 12) combat system, with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capabilities. The DDG modernization program of record fields this capability first in the Flight I and II ships (hulls 51-78). The intent of this program, however, is modernization for the entire 62 ship class. Hulls 79 and beyond will be addressed in program planning beyond the current Future Years Defense Plan," according to the Navy.

"BMD upgrades are part of DDG modernization. Aegis BMD, a component of the Missile Defense Agency, has developed the BMD capability that will be fielded in conjunction with the Advanced Capability Build 12 (ACB 12) combat system on modernized DDG-51 ships and DDG-113 and beyond. ACB 12 will be proliferated across the Aegis fleet via Navy’s CG/DDG Modernization program, although without BMD capability on some CG-47 class ships," the Navy added.