First hypersonic missiles to be installed on US Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers

The US Navy has chosen Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) to install the first hypersonic missiles on Zumwalt-class destroyers USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), as revealed in the pre-solicitation notice published by Naval Sea Systems Command.

US Navy photo of future USS Michael Monsoor underway during sea trials

The upgrading process will be carried out during the destroyer’s dry-dock period.

“The modernization scope of the effort will require specialized yard cranes for greater lift capacity, dry-dock facilities, covered assembly areas, and dedicated fabrication shops,” the statement reads.

“Additionally, extensive facilities (i.e., pre-outfit areas and large paint and blast facilities), special tooling and test equipment, trained workforces, and extensive material bases necessary to construct, maintain and modernize DDG 1000/1001 will be required.”

The navy stressed that choosing other company than HII could result in program delays and “would produce adverse impacts to the DDG 1000/1001 operational requirements.”

Further details about the installation process, as well as the contract’s value, were not disclosed.

To remind, in April this year, USS Zumwalt conducted its first-in-class, live-fire missile exercise as the crew prepares for their maiden employment.

During the live-fire exercises, Zumwalt’s crew engaged live targets with a series of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 1 (ESSM) (RIM 162D) and the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) as part of the stealth destroyer’s final air defense testing.

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USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the lead ship of the US Navy’s next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, entered service in 2016. The vessel is named after Elmo Russell Zumwalt Jr., who was an American naval officer and the youngest man to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations.

The second vessel in the class, USS Michael Monsoor, was commissioned in 2019. The third unit, USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), conducted sea trials last August.