President Trump’s national security adviser on Wednesday said the Navy plans to field hypersonic missiles on all destroyers.
While the service previously said it planned to base Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missiles on Virginia-class submarines and possibly Zumwalt-class destroyers, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said they also plan to add them to all three flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
“The Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program will provide hypersonic missile capability to hold targets at risk from longer ranges. This capability will be deployed first on our newer Virginia-class submarines and the Zumwalt-class destroyers. Eventually, all three flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will field this capability,” he said in prepared remarks at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.
The Navy’s fiscal year 2021 budget request documents confirmed the service intends to deploy these weapons starting on Virginia-class submarines
The Navy’s FY ’21 budget highlights book said the service intends to invest over $1 billion in research and development for the CPS “to enable precise and timely strike capability in contested environments across surface and sub-surface platforms.”
It added the Navy’s CPS program is designing a missile made of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) and a 34.5-inch two-stage booster.
“The program is pursuing an IOC (Initial Operational Capability) of FY 2028 in which the missile will be fielded on a Virginia-class submarine with Virginia Payload Module. Efforts in FY 2021 include continued development of the weapon system and flight subsystem, platform integration, and advanced research and development to support future spiral capabilities such as enhanced warhead, advanced communication, alternative navigation, and terminal sensor technology,” the document said.
However, other budget documents noted the Navy aims to develop a system “deployable for surface and submerged platforms” and that “the Navy CPS weapon system or major elements of the weapon system will be deployed onboard multiple launch platforms.”
The Virginia payload Module (VPM) is a new segment added to the middle of the submarines to hold 28 more missile tubes, for 40 total per vessel. The VPM will be inserted starting with Block V Virginia-class submarines.
The VPM capability aims to help make up for the 154 missiles the four aging Ohio-class SSGN submarines carry after they retire.