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Surface Navy 2022: US Navy remains committed to DDGX concept

The US Navy (USN) plans to make the DDGX its large-surface combatant of the future fleet, even as it modernises its guided-missile destroyer (DDG) flotilla, according to Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, USN Surface Warfare director.

The future of the fleet does not come down to a decision between developing and buying the DDGX or acquiring more of the current DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class ships, Rear Adm Schlise noted during a speech on 11 January at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which started the same day in Arlington, Virginia.

Rather, it's about how “to make the gear teeth seamlessly mesh between the [DDG 51] Flight III [variant] and the DDGX”, he said.

He added that the USN needs to buy a platform that can “accommodate future upgrades … or continue in perpetuity [to] buy platforms that cannot. In outside the building [Pentagon], we are actively making the case for the DDGX”.

The navy has no gripes with the capability of its existing DDGs, he added. “We all love our Arleigh Burkes – many of us grew on them.”

He touted the increased capability of the Flight III ships of the class, now under construction and being considered for future contracts. “Flight III will be a quantum leap forward for the class.”

Noting that plans are still “pre-decisional”, Rear Adm Schlise noted that the USN intends to continue with another multi-year procurement contract for those ships.

However, despite all the DDG 51 advancements, the hull has reached its limits “in every mission area”, he added.

He emphasised, “Flight III will be an exceptional platform through its service life. DDGX is what's next. There's no doubt in my mind, the DDGX will be next enduring large-surface combatant. We need to look to the future.”

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