By 2014, the US Navy is planning to have a few $3 billion stealth destroyer ships at their disposal. The DDG-1000 will be able to sneak up coastlines undetected and will be able to devastate land targets with its futuristic rail gun.
The Associated Press reports that the stealth destroyer is being praised by the Pentagon as the “most advanced destroyer in history.” The ship will be used primarily in Asia but could also find itself in the Gulf region.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said:
“With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements – this is our future.”
The stealth destroyer has a wave-piercing hull which eliminates a wake and is much smaller than a typical destroyer. The DDG-1000 will appear as a small fishing boat on enemy radar. The ship will also be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun capable of shooting projectiles faster than the speed of sound.
But the technologically impressive ship isn’t being praised by everyone. Several people are comparing the $3 billion ship to the F-22 stealth fighter jet and say that the Navy doesn’t have the budget to produce the stealth destroyer in addition to its regular fleet.
Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, said:
“Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it. Buying hyperexpensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can’t do the job, or worse can’t survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible.”
The $3 billion ship’s price tag expands to about $7 billion when research and development is thrown in. The Navy originally planned on 32 ships. Due to the price, that number has repeatedly been cut and now just three are in the works.
Richard Bitzinger, a security expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said:
“Costs spiraled – surprise, surprise – and the program basically fell in on itself. The DDG-1000 was a nice idea for a new modernistic surface combatant, but it contained too many unproven, disruptive technologies.”
But even if cost wasn’t a factor, some people are skeptical about the DDG-1000’s capabilities. An outspoken Chinese Admiral told the AP that the US Navy’s new $3 billion stealth destroyer could be taken out by a few fishing boats with explosives.