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Pic: US Navy unveils new warship concept with hypersonic missiles and lasers

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) and Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), July 13, 2018. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/U.S. Navy)
January 13, 2022

The United States Navy revealed a future warship concept capable of firing hypersonic missiles and lasers that are ten times more powerful than existing weapons.

According to a breakdown of the next-generation warship first reported by U.S. Naval Institute News on Wednesday, the DDG(X) is designed to “provide flexibility for increased missile capacity, sensor growth, longer range offensive anti-surgace and strike capabilities, high power Directed Energy weapons (lasers), increased survivability, and increased efficiency to reduce operational costs and demands.”

DDG(X) ship concept. (Navy’s Program Executive Office Ships/Released)

The Navy told USNI News that it will begin construction on the new warship in 2028.

“Capabilities that we’re going to need for the 21st century to continue combating the threat are increased missile capability sensor growth, directed energy weapons, which actually require a lot of power, increased survivability and increased power availability,” deputy program manager Katherine Connelly said on Wednesday.

The DDG(X) will be built on “lessons learned from previous shipbuilding programs,” including “successful evolutionary development approaches from Destroyers, Cruisers, Frigates, CG 47 to DDG 51 upgrades vice revolutionary approach.”

“In order to understand DDG(X) and the need for it, you really need to talk about the large surface combatant as a whole,” Connelly said. “Flight III is going to be in the fleet through the [2060s]. So, the threat is going to continue to evolve. And there will be new threats out there. We on the Navy side will continue to evolve our combat and other capabilities to deter the threat. And we will need a platform that can accommodate those new technologies.”

According to USNI, the ship’s size and the program’s estimated costs are unclear. The program office and defense industry are working together to improve the ship’s design in an effort to sharpen operational necessities.  

“One of the key things that we’re finding from that is the upfront and early engagement of industry to help us inform our design decisions, our design process. And by doing that, that will enable us to… design a platform that is both producible and affordable in the future. So industry will be part of that decision trade space as we move through the design process,” Connelly said.

The DDG(X) isn’t the only new military concept making waves.

Last week, Boeing unveiled a new hypersonic aircraft model, with a design that evolved from a previous concept dubbed “Valkyrie” first exhibited four years ago. The model could be used in both military and commercial operations, the company said. 

While there are very few details on the new model, Boeing’s 2018 hypersonic passenger aircraft concept was designed to get passengers from New York to London in just two hours by traveling at speeds of Mach 5, or roughly 3,836 miles per hour. The aircraft would also cruise at around 95,000 feet.