The Navy published a sources sought notice on March 18 requesting white papers from possible contractors on capabilities to install hypersonic weapons on the Zumwalt-class destroyers.

The service is assessing the means to implement

goals set by Congress in the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization act to integrate the Conventional Prompt Strike hypersonic weapon onto the DDG-1000 class destroyers (Defense Daily, June 21, 2020).

Concept art of a hypersonic weapon. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Under this notice, the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) office is requesting capability statements to this effect from potential contractors.

The notice said the Navy is looking for production of large-diameter (over 30 inches) All Up Round (AUR) and canisters to support the Zumwalt-class platform and future Army platforms. The All Up Round consisted of the encapsulated missile with a Hypersonic Glide Body (HGB) provided as Government Furnished Equipment. 

Notably, the Navy is looking into production of an Advanced Payload Module (APM) with AURs in a three-pack configuration.

“The APM interfaces the AUR to the host platform and includes a support structure, protection, compressed air ejectors, and environmental control to support the Navy Zumwalt-class Platform,” the solicitation said.

In January, Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, Director of Surface Warfare Division (OPNAV N96), said the service was moving out on studies of hull form and what needs to be done to potentially integrate the hypersonic weapons later, since the capability is in law now.

Schlise noted part of what the Navy is studying is getting a larger diameter Vertical Launch System (VLS)  than the current Mark 41 VLS, which would be useful more generally in the future (Defense Daily, Jan. 12).

According to the notice, interested contractors should be able to provide technical leadership, integration, coordination and system engineering across the CPS program to properly integrate these weapons onto DDG-1000 destroyers.

The effort would include design, development, and testing of the existing CPS weapon control system (WCS) for use on Zumwalt destroyers. Engineering development efforts include system architecture; subsystem, component and test requirements development; design analysis and integration; and system integration, verification and validation testing to support Initial Operating Capability (IOC).

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) at the start of its journey from Bath, Maine to its homeport of San Diego, Calif. in 2018. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

The office also includes requirements of increasing industrial base capability for the Navy and Army Long-Range Hypersonic Weapons.

The solicitation said SSP is particularly looking for industry input to determine if there are sources with the facilities and proficiency required to serve as the prime program manager and systems integrator for all elements of integration of CPS onto the Zumwalt-class as well as with the facility and manpower capability to support large scale production of AURs, Navy APMs, and both Army and Navy canister closures.

The Navy is also asking potential contractors to demonstrate they can perform Zumwalt-class support integration including CPS Weapon Control System design, development and test; manufacture, integration and installation of CPS on DDG-1000 destroyers; manufacture, delivery and integration of Navy CPS pre-production prototype and production-level hardware/software; development of the Zumwalt-class  destroyer CPS unique operational concept of operations to include considerations to integrate with command authority, host platforms and facilities/ports; and design and development necessary for packaging, handling, storage and transportation of support equipment to support CPS on the destroyers.

The Navy underscored this solicitation is issued only for market research purposes only.

Responses are due by April 5 and white papers are not to be no more than 10 pages.