The US Navy decided to add hypersonic missiles to three Zumwalt-class ships
A proposal to re-equip Zumwalt-class ships was approached by the US Navy when drawing up a budget request for 2022. The naval command thought about installing 12 missiles on each of the Zumwalt-class ships, which would allow the latter to significantly increase their capabilities in terms of striking targets on land.
To achieve this goal, the US Navy is asking Congress for $ 1,4 billion in 2022. This money will go towards further research in the field of CPS missiles and the gradual installation of missiles on ships. The Navy intends to place a 35-inch two-stage missile in multipurpose launch tubes, a design similar to that used on Virginia-class submarines.
According to budget documents, the first unit for hypersonic missiles for submarines will be ready by 2028, but it will take, according to experts, much more time to equip Zumwalt-class ships. At least in 2022, the US Navy will deal with the development of the rocket itself, the integration of the platform with missiles, and the solution of navigation and communication problems.
The hypersonic missiles are so large that they cannot fit into the Mark 41 vertical missile launchers found on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers or the Mark 57 launchers (80 per ship) on Zumwalt ships.
According to the American columnist David Ax, despite the fact that Zumwalts are ships with a large displacement, this does not mean that there is a lot of free space on the ships. Installing a hypersonic missile launcher will require the removal of two 155mm cannons currently housed in the bow of every Zumwalt-class ship.
Meanwhile, once these weapons were the pride of the existence of the Zumwalt program itself. The US Navy assumed that the cannons would fire high-precision shells over a great distance, without any problems covering the coast with enemy fortifications with their fire.
However, the US Navy developed guns separately from ammunition, and the latter have risen in price so much that they are now equal to the cost of a cruise missile, which has a much longer strike range. It turns out that it is economically inexpedient to maintain the existence of cannons on board ships of this class. So the ships were left without guns, but it was decided to re-equip them with missiles.
According to David Ax, the addition of hypersonic missiles will enhance the ability of ships of this class to carry out attacks on ground targets. For example, if the American fleet collides with the Chinese in the battle for Taiwan, then Zumwalt-class ships, located in the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan, will be able to launch missile strikes at Chinese ports and airfields, as well as shell the Chinese fleet in the Taiwan Strait.
It is clear that these are much more impressive capabilities than those possessed by the ships of the named class before. Now the only question is whether Congressmen will be interested in the proposal of the US Navy and whether they will support the allocation of significant budgetary funds to modernize the weapons of new American ships.
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- Twitter / US Naval Institute
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