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July 19, 2005

DD(X) development at critical stage

This afternoon, the Projections Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will meet to hear testimony on Department of the Navy FY06 Plans and Programs for the DD(X) Next-Generation Multi-Mission Surface Combatant Ship.

The hearings are due to start at 3.30 p.m and you can listen in live on line. Follow this link:http://armedservices.house.gov/schedules and click on the micophone icon.

The various administration witnesses are likely to find themselves facing a tough audience.

The House Armed Services Committee version of the FY2006 defense authorization bill trimmed $1 billion from the DD(X) program, put a $1.7 billion a copy ceiling on the cost of each destroyer, directed the Secretary of Defense to start developing a new, more affordable, surface combatant, and authorized $2.5 billion more than the budget request for two more DDG-51 destroyers.

Meantime, Northrop Grumman yesterday issued a press release saying that the DD(X) National Team, has successfully completed the initial critical design review for the overall system design for the DD(X) multi-mission destroyer.

This indicates that the program is ready for the Flag level review in September and that the DD(X) Flight 1 system design is complete, stable and mature enough to enter detail design.

The Northrop Grumman release quotes U .S. Navy Capt. Chuck Goddard, PMS 500 DD(X) program manager, as saying: "This is the most comprehensive and thorough ship design review ever conducted for a surface combatant."

"The hard work and dedication of the DD(X) National Team and Navy program office to further mature the design and technologies since successfully carrying out the preliminary design review over a year ago should be applauded," said Brian Cuccias, Northrop Grumman vice president and DD(X) program manager. "This event shows the outstanding accomplishments the National Team and Navy have made maturing all 10 engineering development model technologies on plan, retiring risk and incorporating these transformational technologies into a balanced ship design. We continue in our commitment to provide the finest ship, with the most needed technology for the 21st century sailor and the successful completion of critical design review reaffirms that DD(X) is that ship."

Conducted June 28 and 29, the initial critical design review was a DD(X) Phase III program event that addressed the total system's design maturity and overall progress made to date on DD(X) engineering-development models. Representing the full spectrum of advanced technologies to be integrated into the ship, the engineering development models are elements of the Navy's risk-reduction strategy for the Flight 1 ship design.

"The critical design review addressed an unprecedented level of total-system physical and function design, including ship, shore and mission systems," said Navy Cmdr. Jim Syring, PMS 500 DD(X) technical director.

"DD(X) promises to open an exciting era for the Navy - one based on common, interoperable mission systems, deployed fleet wide and enabled by reusable technologies," said Mike Hoeffler, Raytheon vice president and DD(X) program manager. "For example, DD(X) is the source of the first Navy common command-and-control system, which has already been selected for use on the CVN 21 aircraft carrier. This signals the start of DD(X) technology being used for the Navy's planned family of ships. The most important message arising from this critical design review is that the Navy is fully confident in our ability to make the DD(X) design a reality."

The DD(X) engineering-development models comprise hardware and software components, which have already been built, tested and reviewed by the National Team and the Navy. Examples include the integrated deckhouse and apertures, total ship computing environment, dual-band radar system, integrated under-sea warfare system, MK 57 advanced, vertical launching system, automated gun system and wave-piercing tumblehome hull. The DD(X) National team is led by Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector and Raytheon serves as the electronic and weapons systems integrator.

The DD(X) National Team has successfully completed nearly a dozen incremental design review milestones, highlighting its commitment to staying on schedule and on cost, as well as the extraordinary maturity and discipline of the program's approach to integrating unprecedented advanced technologies into the platform.

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