To maintain naval superiority, the US Navy continues modernizing its fleet, particularly its aging surface combatant vessels, kickstarting its DD(X) program. Also known as the next-generation guided-missile destroyer, ships built under the program are set to succeed the remainder of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Flight I/II of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with advanced technology.
With its outlook design alone, the Zumwalt-class warships were billed as the Navy’s future stealth cruiser-sized super destroyers that would carry on America’s superiority in the world’s oceans and littorals for the next 50 years. The concept of the futuristic battleship expanded from the 1994 SC-21 program and went through heavy revisions and name changes before finally becoming what it is known today.
Following the CG(X) cancellation in 2010, the Navy pressed on to hunt for future successors to its aging fleet of battleships, eventually landing on the Zumwalt-class destroyers. And it underwent tons of back and forth, with the initially planned number of ships to be acquired from 32 to 16 to seven, and eventually announcing to settle for three units by 2009 and revert to building more Arleigh Burke-class instead. Mainly because of the high spending. Each destroyer reportedly costs over $4.2 billion—in construction costs alone.
Finally, work on the next-generation destroyers began, with the lead ship, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), to be built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) in 2009. Zumwalt was delivered to the Navy with the activated combat system in 2020, making it the first full-electric power and propulsion ship. As planned, the destroyer featured advanced critical technologies, including a communication and intelligence system and an offensive strike missile. However, unlike its previous counterparts, the destroyer is set to provide support for land-attack to ground troops and carry out traditional missions of anti-air, anti-surface, and undersea warfare rather than countering deep-water threats.