Navy spending $21 billion on three new destroyers, part of response to China’s military buildup

By End the Lie

An artist rendering of the Zumwalt class destroyer DDG 1000 (Image credit: U.S. Navy)

Despite the United States having record deficits, a black hole of debt and absolutely no money to be spending, the military continues to ignore this reality and funnel huge sums of money into the coffers of the war profiteers.

The new DDG 1000 Zumwalt class destroyer will focus on attacking land-based targets, leveraging stealth technology to allow the vessel to get close to shore before being detected and letting loose the massive advanced arsenal on the warship.

Similar to other military projects like the Blue Devil spy blimp and airborne laser programs, this project went far over the original estimated cost of $3.8 billion all the way up to $7 billion.

If they follow the established pattern, they very well might end up pumping billions into the program just to dump it after a few years.

The Zumwalt class destroyers will likely be outfitted with some of the most advanced, far-out naval technology the public knows about.

Not the least of which is the electromagnetic railgun, which will be able to fire projectiles faster (4,500-5,000 miles per hour) and farther (up to 100 nautical miles, with future incarnations potentially able to reach 220 nautical miles) than any other weapon currently in use.

According to Fox News, the Zumwalt class destroyers are also going to receive Advanced Gun System (AGS), expected to have a range of close to 60 nautical miles.

One day, we very well may see these vessels outfitted with free-electron lasers, or more colloquially “powerful warship raygun turrets able to blast enemy missiles and aircraft out of the sky from afar,” as The Register put it.

“They were looking to introduce so many new technologies at once, and the cost ballooned,” said defense analyst Jay Korma, who works with the Avascent Group, according to Business Insider. “I don’t think people have changed their minds that it’s a capable ship. It’s just too expensive.”

The ship is currently being built in Maine at Bath Iron Works, which had to build a brand new $40 million building just to have the room required to build the vessel.

The new 106-foot-tall building, owned by General Dynamics, will be used to assemble the enormous hull segments of the 600-foot-long warship.

However, even with its massive size, the futuristic ship will only need half of the crew traditionally required to man a ship due to the highly complex onboard electronics and automation features.

The Zumwalt class destroyers, which are expected to be operational some time in 2015, seems to be aimed mostly at combating the perceived threat of the Chinese military buildup and the Pentagon’s new focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Early last month I reported on the increases in Chinese military spending, which was almost certainly a response to the Pentagon’s new strategy as well as the global growth of NATO, especially in the region of the South China Sea.

Indeed, it seems impossible to come to any conclusion other than that the United States has been goading China – and continues to do so – through various means but especially through arming those who are opposing Chinese control of the South China Sea.

“With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements — this is our future,” said Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, during a visit to Bath Iron Works.

However, previously the vessel was criticized for trying to cram too much new technology into the platform and according to CBS News, some Navy officials pointed out that it is less capable in terms of missile defense compared to current destroyers and might be vulnerable when operating close to shore providing fire support.

Even the “tumblehome” hull, which allows it to pierce through waves, was criticized for being potentially unstable under certain circumstances.

While the latest proposed budget form the Navy puts the cost of the destroyers at $3.8 billion each, Winslow Wheeler, the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, points out that if you consider research and development costs it is actually $7 billion apiece.

Originally, the Navy wanted 32 of the massive destroyers, but that was quickly cut down to 24, then seven, and now a mere three due to the absurd costs associated with the vessels.

Despite the ludicrous cost – which we can’t afford since we do not have a single penny to our country’s name – Greenert claims that it fits perfectly into the new Asia-Pacific focus.

While he wouldn’t go into explicit detail about how the ship could actually be used, we do know that the Department of Defense is concerned about the Chinese navy.

This was evidenced last year by the United States nonsensically saying that China must explain their need for a refurbished Soviet aircraft carrier.

The United States is focused not only on the South China Sea but also the perceived threat of China stopping or delaying foreign intervention in a conflict involving Taiwan.

The Navy claims that the Zumwalt’s new technology will give the destroyer the ability to carry on operations and defeat aggression in locations where enemies are attempting to deny access including in the open ocean and close to shore.

The 155mm deck guns on the Zumwalt are designed to strike shore targets with guided munitions in order to open up the way for Marines to swoop in with landing vessels.

According to Eric Wertheim, author of the Naval Institute’s Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, this weapons system could prove more cost effective than cruise missiles in certain contexts.

Keep in mind, this type of scenario sounds very similar to what an operation against Iran might look like using the Pentagon’s so-called “commando mothership,” so I think this could very well be aimed at them as well as the Chinese.

Personally, I find it quite insulting that the Pentagon continues to spend money (which we don’t have), leveraging the American people as collateral against the massive debts.

Unfortunately we are ruled by a government which clearly plans for perpetual war across the globe, something which will undoubtedly cause unimaginable pain and suffering not only in those countries targeted by the West, but the United States and allied countries as well.

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4 Responses to Navy spending $21 billion on three new destroyers, part of response to China’s military buildup

  1. Richard April 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Has the US of A gone totaly insane?? Billons for war, Billons for bailouts and We the People suffer: no jobs, loss of homes, prices going up daily and debt. What the hell happen??

    Reply
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  3. mlnw July 8, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Expect also that the Navy will give this technology to the Israelis, or that the Israelis will steal it, so that they can police the Eastern Mediterranean and continue to create havoc with their neighbors while avoiding any serious effort at peace with the Palestinians.
    (And, maybe the Israelis will even turn around and sell it to the Chinese, as they did some years ago with sensitive aviation technology that we supplied them with)

    Regardless, the U.S. will continue to bankrupt itself in pursuit of flawed policies. The military contractors will win, the big banks that fund these contractors will win, the Pentagon will win, the neocons will win, the Israelis will win, and the rest of us, 313 million in the U.S. and 7 billion total in the world, will lose- big time. So, where are our politicians on this- Democrats and Republicans? Hiding in the weeds? Feeding at the trough?
    or just going along to get along?

    Reply
  4. Anonymous July 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Additional comments: The Chinese are not looking to expand their borders, though they are disputing the extent of their offshore economic zone vs. that of their neighbors. It is ludicrous for the U.S. to think that it will be able to provoke or threaten the Chinese in their backyard. Protecting their borders is a “core interest” for the Chinese (just as it would be for us).
    Moreover, the Chinese have not forgotten the humiliation of losing sovereignty over their land to the Western European nations and Japan in the 19th and early 20th century.
    If we begin to throw huge amounts of money into this, the Chinese will be forced to counter, except that they will be able to do it much cheaper than us, since our bankers, contractors, brokers, etc. take such huge cuts that the cost overruns are a multiple of what the real cost should be. In the end, we will be bankrupting ourselves for a foolish and impossible goal.
    Diplomacy, peace, trade, and rule of law is what we should be
    pursuing. That is what will advance the quality of life and “human rights” of our respective peoples.

    Reply

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