US Zumwalt destroyers first to get hypersonic missiles under new deal

A contract worth US $2 billion has been secured by Lockheed Martin for the installation of the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missile launchers. The missile launchers are to be installed on the US Navy’s three destroyers which are of Zumwalt class. These destroyers are to be installed by the middle of this decade.

When the class of Zumwalt was conceived, the intention of the building of this class was intended to be the twenty-first-century destroyer that would help the US Navy in its increased needs in this changing world. The Zumwalt would be a very advanced technological marvel, unlike the previous destroyers. It would contain all sorts of advanced systems inside a tumbledown hull, which would not have the looks of a lab from the futuristic movie, yet it would have a radar profile similar to that of a fishing boat.

Not only the size of Zumwalt would be larger than that of the other destroyers, but also it would be larger than many cruisers, and it would also be packed with long-range firepower like the battleships. The Zumwalt concept stood out differently because of its role. The role of Zumwalt was to be a multi-mission warship that could be used in different parts of the sea to support land operations. It would also perform many other tasks.

The problem with the Zumwalt project started when controversies arose during the launch of the USS Zumwalt in 2016. Some controversies were the production delays, the overrun of cost, which was estimated at $8 billion per ship, and also the makers were embarrassed because the ship broke down in the middle of the Panama Canal. There were also many questions raised regarding the design of the ship, which only resulted in the successful making of only three of the thirty-two ships that were planned initially.

For many years, the Zumwalt class had a bad reputation for being a triom of ships that had no concrete mission, but the contract passed by Lockheed allowed it to be the first ship that would carry the CPS surface-launched and also the sea-based hypersonic strike missiles. The Zumwalt is capable of controlled flight speeds upto Mach 5. The Zumwalt would be so fast that these ships can penetrate easily through the current air defense systems, and also, the inertial energy in the ships would be so great that the target can be hit down simply just by the impact. Under this contract, Lockheed and the other subcontractors, Northdrop and GDMS, will provide them with launcher systems.