It was recently announced that the Navy would retire 7 cruisers of the Ticonderoga (CG-47) class. I'm not so certain this is bad news, depending on what outcome the Navy is playing for in their 'long-game'.
Since the retirement of the earlier generations of Navy cruisers, the biggest difference between destroyers and cruisers has been what the Navy has decided to stuff into their hulls. In fact, the the Ticonderoga was initially ordered as the DDG-47 Ticonderoga and the class used the same hull and ship systems as the Spruance class destroyers.
In rather rapid (in the shipbuilding sense) succession, the Navy:
1. Decided to extend the construction of the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) series with another 'flight' of Arleigh Burkes in lieu of following up on and adding numbers to the DD-1000 Zumwalt class. This was allegedly more affordable path that touted the low cost of the DDG-51s while somehow not accounting for the additional costs and risks of the upgrades proposed for the new flight. The usual crowd applauded the move.
2. Admitted their shock and horror when they discovered the 'affordable' (but unacceptable without the planned upgrades) Arleigh Burkes were also unaffordable with the necessary upgrades. Oh and did we mention that keeping the older DDG-51s viable was going to cost quite a bit more or create 'gaps' as well?While during this time the DDG-1000 Zumwalt's seem to be doing just fine. Which seems to bring us right back to the idea of maybe a family of modern warships based upon the DD(X)'s original objectives isn't such a bad idea after all? Is the Navy angling towards an eventual CG-1000 or just slouching their way to greatness?
|DD-1000 vs CG-51 Comparison In Profile|
Update: Here's what the world's largest composite structure looks like:
|DDG-1000 Superstructure (HII Photo)|