HII's Ingalls Shipbuilding division has received a $154.8 million contract modification for the modernization of the Navy's lead Zumwalt-class destroyer, beginning the integration of the hypersonic Conventional Prompt Strike weapon system onto the ship, according to a Tuesday contract announcement.
A separate HII announcement confirms DDG-1000 arrived at the company’s Pascagoula, MS, shipyard on Aug. 19 after departing San Diego earlier in the month.
“The ship will enter a modernization period and receive technology upgrades including the integration of the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon system, ensuring USS Zumwalt remains one of the most technologically advanced and lethal ships in the U.S. Navy,” the shipbuilder’s announcement states.
DDG-1000 will be the first Zumwalt-class destroyer and the first of the Navy’s surface ships equipped with the Lockheed Martin-made CPS -- a hypersonic boost-glide weapon system for long-range missile flight.
Zumwalt ships Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) and Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) are expected to receive the CPS upgrade during future modernization periods.
While the Navy anticipates initial fielding of CPS on DDG-1000 in 2025, government auditors have identified schedule risks within both programs while House lawmakers have recommended a reduction in fiscal year 2024 procurement of CPS rounds.
In June, the Navy revealed the Zumwalt program’s initial operational capability has been pushed to the fourth quarter of FY-24 -- a delay of more than a year beyond the prior target and seven years behind the program’s original schedule.
Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office’s annual weapon systems assessment indicates critical CPS technologies are not yet mature and warns that a tight testing schedule and lingering supply chain difficulties could lead to delays.
Despite these risks, the program is expected to complete its Middle Tier Acquisition rapid prototyping phase on schedule in September 2024, a Navy spokesperson told Inside Defense.
The conclusion of the MTA phase will clear the program to transition to rapid fielding. According to the GAO report, the MTA phase is expected to culminate in a cold-launch test of a representative missile, in which the missile is expelled from the launcher and ignites after being ejected.
“Testing at the In-Air Launch test facility has validated the cold-gas launch approach the Navy will use to launch the common hypersonic missile from both of our sea-based platforms,” the spokesperson said Tuesday, referring to the Navy’s plans to install CPS on Block V Virginia-class submarines as well as Zumwalt ships.
“The department does not publicly disclose the details of its hypersonic flight test plans or events to protect future operational capabilities,” the Navy spokesperson continued. “The Army and Navy are planning to conduct additional flight tests in the next several years to support the fielding of future hypersonic weapons.”
The Navy is also working to improve the CPS supply chain by “investing in special tooling and equipment with industrial base suppliers to increase the capacity for Advanced Payload Modules (APM), Canisters and All Up Rounds (AURs),” the spokesperson confirmed.
“Additionally, the program is leveraging approximately $106 million of [Office of the Secretary of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment] sponsored projects to improve the supplier base across multiple sectors including solid rocket motors, thrust vector controller, thermal protection systems and inertial guidance instrumentation,” they added.