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Marine Log

July 31, 2008

Navy explains why it's capping DDG 1000 program

Today, the Navy gave its first public explanation of why it plans to cap the DDG 1000 destroyer program at two ships and restart the DDG 51 line.

It came at a hearing of the House Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee on Navy Destroyer Acquisition Programs.

You access the Chairman Gene Taylor's opening address and the various witness statements HERE, and you can access the opening statement of Ranking Republican Member Roscoe Bartlett HERE.

Meantime, here are some of the main points made in the joint prepared statement of Allison Stiller, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ship Programs and Vice Admiral Barry McCullough, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Resources and Capabilities.

According to the statement "it is no longer feasible or affordable to purchase the most capable, multi-mission platform and then limit its use to execute tailored mission areas or focus on specific threats. As asymmetric threats continue to evolve, so will traditional threats. The Navy must find affordable and adaptable ways to fill current and future warfighting gaps."

Combatant Commanders continue to request more surface ships and increased naval presence to expand cooperation with new partners in Africa, the Black Sea, the Baltic Region, and the Indian Ocean and to maintain relationships with allies and friends.

The Navy must increase surface combatant capacity in order to meet Combatant Commander demands today for ballistic missile defense, theater security cooperation, steady state security posture and to meet future demands as Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Fourth Fleet in Southern Command are stood up. The Navy also continues to remain committed to ballistic missile defense partners around the globe.

The 313-ship force floor represents the maximum acceptable risk in meeting the security demands of the 21st century. In the balance of capability and capacity, the Navy has found that there are increased warfighting gaps, particularly in the area of integrated air and missile defense capability. Capacity also matters, and capacity is capability for the Irregular War we are in today.

The DDG 1000 program is developing "a capable ship which meets the requirements for which it was designed." The DDG 1000's dual band radar and sonar suite design are optimized for the littoral environment. However, "the DDG 1000 cannot perform area air defense; specifically, it cannot successfully employ the Standard Missile (SM-2), SM-3 or SM-6 and is incapable of conducting Ballistic Missile Defense. Although superior in littoral ASW, the DDG 1000 lower power sonar design is less effective in the blue water than DDG-51 capability. DDG 1000's Advanced Gun System (AGS) design provides enhanced Naval Fires Support capability in the littorals with increased survivability. However, with the accelerated advancement of precision munitions and targeting, excess fires capacity already exists from tactical aviation and organic USMC fires. Unfortunately, the DDG 1000 design sacrifices capacity for increased capability in an area where Navy already has, and is projected to have sufficient capacity and capability."

The capability of DDG 5 1 Class ships being built today is markedly more advanced than the initial ships of the class. The DDG 51 Class was developed in three incremental flights, with upgraded technology and capability built into each subsequent hull.

Ships are currently being constructed at both General Dynamics (GD) Bath Iron Works (BIW) and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB). 62 ships have previously been authorized and appropriated, with the most recent procurement of three ships in FY 2005. A total of 53 ships have been delivered to the Navy. Five ships remain under construction at GD BIW, and 4 at NGSB. The last ship currently under construction, DDG 112, is scheduled for delivery in FY 201 1.

All material for DDG 51 Class ships currently under construction has been procured, with the majority of the long lead material purchased in an Economic Order Quantity buy in FY 2002.

DDG 51 class production has been extremely stable, with successful serial production at both shipbuilders. The costs associated with DDG 51 class shipbuilding are well understood. The Aegis Weapon System has been incrementally developed successfully to add increased capabilities and transition to the use of open architecture and increased use of comnlercial systems. Additionally, the DDG 5 1 modernization program is currently modernizing the Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical (HM&E) and Combat Systems. These combined upgrades support a reduction in manpower and operating costs, achieve expected service life, and allow the class to pace the projected threat well into the 21st century.

Based upon a Navy assessment, including discussions with both current shipbuilders, to explore any subcontractor issues, a restart of DDG 51 procurement in FY 2009 is feasible. However, several ship and Government Furnished Equipment vendor base issues (including configuration change issues and production line re-starts) must be addressed in order to award and construct additional ships, which will increase ship costs above the most recently procured ships. The most notable being the restart of the DDG 51 reduction gear production. The Navy is confident that these issues can be resolved to support a FY 2009 restart.

DDG 51 class restart beyond FY 2009 presents significant risks and therefore additional costs. However, both shipbuilders have indicated to the Navy that these lead time challenges can be mitigated with advance procurement and an adjusted build sequence, and that DDG 51 restart in FY 2009 is executable in both shipyards.

Regarding the combat systems, the last production contracts were awarded in 2006. The cost and ease of restarting tliose production lines is a function of time, and part availability on military specification items which would need to be addressed.

Given the truncation of the DDG 1000 program at two ships, the Navy estimate for procurement of a single DDG 51 class ship in FY 2009 is $2.2 billion/

The Navy has not finalized the acquisition strategy for a FY 2009 DDG 51 and follow-on procurements. The Navy will carefully consider stability of the industrial base during the planning of the specific strategy.

The Navy remains ready to begin construction of DDG 1000. The systems engineering approach for DDG 1000 has been well conceived and well executed. However, overall, the remaining program risk involved in integrating the Mission Systems, 10 EDM's, and the ship detail design is still moderate. The maturity of the ship design, critical technologies, and mission systems support commencement of production. However, the integration of a complex, lead ship, surface combatant with significant new technologies always entails risk. And though the Navy cost estimate for DDG 1000 is based on a detailed, bottoms up approach, this complex integration does increase the cost risk.

Truncation of the program at two ships will result in cost impacts due to program shutdown, continuation of required class service tasks, and potential increased costs for DDG 1000 and 1001 and other programs. Additionally, the RDT&E efforts for the DDG 1000 program must continue in order to deliver completed ships and in the CVN 78 Class.

The Navy's top shipbuilding priority remains achieving a surface combatant shipbuilding program that is equally capable of assuring peace today and access to the global economy tomorrow regardless of the threats posed in an uncertain future.

Continuing to build DDG 51s enables the Navy to expand warfighting capacity and capability in areas needed by Combatant Commanders and to reach the 3 13 ship level sooner. Meeting evolving blue water and near-land threats that the DDG 51 can match provides less risk to the joint warfighter. There is less risk associated with the affordability of maintaining DDG 51 line versus continuing the DDG 1000 line. The Navy is ready to restart DDG 51 production, and is conlmitted to successfully delivering DDG 1000 and 1001 from which, we will inform new ship class designs.

The Navy has not finalized the acquisition strategy for FY 2009 DDG 51 and follow-on procurements, however acquisition planning is fully underway to execute this change in the Navy's shipbuilding requirements.

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