THE USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG 51) WAS A MODERN NAVY WARSHIP -- WHEN IT WAS BUILT IN 1985. BUT IT CANNOT MEET THE NEEDS OF A 21ST-CENTURY NAVY. IMAGE SOURCE: U.S. NAVY.
Rich Smith, Motley Fool: Why the Navy Needs a New Destroyer
If it doesn't get one, it may be forced to "go to war with the destroyers it has -- not the destroyers it might want or wish to have at a later time."
The U.S. Navy is not a very flexible force.
Out of 275 ships on the Navy's "Battle Forces" list, fully 23% of the Navy's ships are Arleigh Burke-class "destroyers," and 25% are nuclear submarines. Throw in a few Ticonderoga-class cruisers (8% of the fleet) and 10 operational aircraft carriers (4%), and well over half the fleet is made up of just four types of warship.
Why doesn't the Navy have a more flexible toolkit, with more types of vessels designed to tackle more specific sorts of missions? In part, it's a question of cost. More ship designs mean more expense to maintain them. In addition, when the Navy has tried to introduce new ship types to the fleet, it's sometimes been shocked to find the ships arriving over budget and behind schedule.
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WNU Editor: The U.S. Navy initially expected to build 32 Zumwalt-class units .... but they are now only going to build 3. And the problem with the Arleigh Burkes class of ships is that were designed years ago, and will not be able to incorporate the weapon systems that the US Navy wants to install in the future. Faced with this dilemma .... yup .... it is time to develop a new destroyer. The big question that needs to be answered is .... will Congress allocate the money to develop and build it .... and if so, when.