The Navy is considering a “ZEUS” upgrade program for Zumwalt destroyers

Zumwalt (DDG 1000) approaches the Governor William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge, also known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, as the ship departs from a commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. (US Navy photo by Liz Wolter/Released)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is considering a new upgrade program aimed at replacing various components of the Zumwalt-class destroyer to make the warship more common with the rest of the surface fleet, the latest potential changes for an expensive program already in Congress. microscope.

The service’s lead ship acquisition agency, Naval Sea Systems Command, initiated the charged idea, dubbed the Zumwalt Enterprise Upgrade Solution, or ZEUS, with public request for information to industry on November 17, just days after the Navy celebrated the first successful deployment of the Zumwalt (DDG-1000), during which it visited the US 3rd and 7th Fleets.

“Potential elements under consideration for the upgrade” include the surface electronic warfare enhancement program, the SQQ-89 underwater warfare system and interoperability, the ability to effectively share data between the ship’s radar and fire control systems, according to the Navy.

The service’s announcement also said the Navy anticipates that changes to the ship’s topside design will be minimal. The task of the warship will remain surface strikes, and the Zumwalt SPY-3 radar will be replaced by the SPY-6 (v)3, both of which are made by Raytheon. Answers are accepted until December 16.

Requests for information are inherently preliminary, meaning that the publication of a notice does not necessarily mean that a warship will undergo any changes. However, the service’s interest in replacing components at this stage of a ship’s life is significant due to the number loud changes the program has already passed.

The three-ship class has come under scrutiny from Congress due to several high-profile accidents, such as cost overruns that forced the service to cut class size from 32 to three as well as shipwreck branded ammunition, high-precision guided naval artillery projectile, over how expensive each shot turned out to be.

One of the reasons any changes to the system for the Zumwalt will be next is because of the stage of the program’s life. Just last week, the ship’s commanding officer, Captain Amy McInnis, was speaking to reporters about her crew’s successful first deployments to the US 3rd and 7th Fleets.

“Zumwalt’s historic employment success [demonstrated] how we integrate the DDG-1000 class into fleet operations,” she said. “It was critical to the class and we learned a lot.”

That the ship, which has already gone through a series of costly modifications, would begin considering further design changes after only recently seeing its first use is sure to attract unwanted attention from lawmakers considering future Pentagon budgets. It’s too early to say how much funding — taxpayer dollars — the service plans to spend on the program. The Navy, in its public announcement, simply says, “No estimated cost or price is being requested at this time.” The Navy is considering a “ZEUS” upgrade program for Zumwalt destroyers

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