While the U.S. Navy is pinning its hopes to counter China’s increasing naval power on the futuristic DDG-1000, its future seems doubtful. The super-stealthy warship can sneak up through shallow waters undetected and uses electromagnetic rail guns that fire projectiles at several times the speed of sound. But the $3 billion tag, which goes up to $7 billion if research costs are included, has led the Congress to reduce the Navy’s demand of original 32 ships to 24, and then to 7. Currently, only three of the ships are being built.
The Pentagon claims it is the most advanced destroyer in history. The chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert is known to have said, “With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements – this is our future.”
China’s Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong, affiliated with China’s National Defense University, said on TV, it can be taken down by a swarm of fishing boats laden with explosives. He said if enough boats were there, “It would be a goner.”
Recently, China has been frantically building up its aircraft carrier capability and developing submarines and missiles capable of denying American ships access to crucial sea lanes in the Pacific and South China seas. According to the U.S. Defense Department, China is rapidly modernizing its navy and increasing its firepower for stopping U.S. intervention in the South China Sea and over Taiwan, which China is now claiming as a renegade province which should be part of China.
Richard Bitzinger, a security expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University said, “The DDG-1000 was a nice idea for a new modernistic surface combatant, but it contained too many unproven, disruptive technologies.”
The navy maintains its money is well spent. Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation told the media, “Buying hyperexpensive ships hurts …, but buying ships that can’t do the job, or worse can’t survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible.”
The DDG-1000 has a wave-piercing hull that does not leave any wake and runs on electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar. The first of the new ships is scheduled to be delivered in 2014.