USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)

WASHINGTON: Under intense budget pressure, a Pentagon cost-cutting team is pushing the Navy to cancel its third and last Zumwalt-class destroyer, the Lyndon Johnson (DDG-1002). But two sources familiar with the program say this cost-cutting measure just doesn’t add up. The DDG-1000 Zumwalts are expensive; three ships will cost almost $13 billion. About $9 billion of that… Keep reading →


From the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, the US military is getting more and more worried about the threat from various missiles. But all incoming missiles are not the same, which makes missile defense much harder. That’s the problem Raytheon’s SM-6 interceptor tackled in a recent test that has important tactical implications. If you… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin graphic

CAPITOL HILL: Take my mission — please. The armed services are notorious for overselling their capabilities and grabbing turf to justify budgets. But when it comes to ballistic missile defense, the Navy feels so overburdened that it is talking up land-based alternatives as superior to its vaunted Aegis ships. [Click here for Part I of this… Keep reading →

Navy cruiser Lake Erie launches SM-3 IB missile 575519537757ad8b1368733557

WASHINGTON: Sometimes success is its own punishment. Shooting down ballistic missiles is one of the Navy’s most high-tech, high-profile capabilities — and it’s one of the most popular with Congress as well. But as demand for missile defense increases at what the Chief of Naval Operations has called an “unsustainable” pace, it’s an ever-greater burden… Keep reading →

The new carrier USS Ford is afloat but still unfinished.

NAVY YARD: At almost $13 billion, the cutting-edge aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78) has become a byword for military overruns. With the Ford‘s cost now stable and the costs of the second ship, Kennedy, coming down, however, the Navy seems convinced it’s got the money problem under control. Now they can talk about the… Keep reading →

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Jan. 26, 2013) Huntington Ingalls Industries celebrated significant progress today as the 555-metric ton island was lowered onto the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division. The 60-foot long, 30-foot wide island was the 452nd lift of the nearly 500 total lifts needed to complete the aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)

WASHINGTON: “About half” of the shipyards building US Navy vessels are “one contract away” from leaving the business, the Navy’s top procurement officer told the Senate today. After decades of decline due to foreign competition, the US shipbuilding industry has become so fragile and so dependent on government contracts that the Navy is taking unprecedented and… Keep reading →

Tomahawk cruise missile launch against the Khorasan group in Syria

Last week, the US Navy made waves by announcing two bold ideas for the surface fleet: a new concept of warfighting called “distributed lethality” — “If it floats, it fights” — and a new name for the controversial Littoral Combat Ship — now called a “frigate.” We asked Bryan Clark, a former special assistant to… Keep reading →

Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

CRYSTAL CITY: “If it floats, it fights,” Rear Adm. Peter Fanta says. “That’s ‘distributed lethality'[:] Make every cruiser, destroyer, amphib, LCS [Littoral Combat Ship], a thorn in somebody else’s side.” “It just takes arming everything,” says Fanta, the director of surface warfare (section N96) on the Navy staff. “Lethality” simply means more and better weapons. “Distributed” means… Keep reading →

Courtesy Northrop Grumman

Fire Scout makes it look easy to take off from a destroyer. It’s not. In video released today (above), the MQ-8C helicopter takes off from the destroyer Jason Dunham with its eyes closed — or rather with its cockpit windows painted over, because there’s nobody inside. Though derived from the widespread Bell 407, the Northrop… Keep reading →

CSBA graphic

WASHINGTON: Someone shoots a cruise missile at you. How far away would you like to stop it: over 200 miles out or less than 35? If you answered “over 200,” congratulations, you’re thinking like the US Navy, which has spent billions of dollars over decades to develop ever more sophisticated anti-missile defenses. According to Bryan… Keep reading →

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