The US Navy is readying a $7 billion boat that can launch attacks faster than the speed of sound and is practically invisible to detection. Even with that hefty cost, however, China says it will only take a few fishing boats to blow up the DDG-1000.
The chief of US naval operations says that the DDG-1000 super-stealth destroyer warship is the “future” of America’s on-the-water weaponry, and at that price tag it better be. Right now the ship is costing taxpayers around $3.1 billion but the price of research and development is likely to bring the tally to more than double. The ship is several years in the making and the first of its kind is expected to be ready by 2014, but critics in China — the very place Uncle Sam plans to send his up and coming fleet — are laughing at America’s latest endeavor.
"It would be a goner," Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong of China's National Defense University tells the nation’s CCTV military channel.
The US intends on sending its newest ship towards China’s Pacific Coast where it will be able to monitor activity in the budding region without being easily detected. The boat’s wave-piercing hull will leave almost no wake in the water, reports the Associated Press, and upgrades to the ship will eventually equip it with electromagnetic railguns that can shoot projectiles by using an electric current and magnetic field to fire at enemy targets. Zhaozhong warns, however, that where the US invests in unnecessary weaponry and sleek, stealth technology, it fails to properly outfit the ship with the material to keep it from going kerplunk.
According to the AP, Zhaozhong claims that the DDG-1000’s impressive design could be easily overwhelmed by a mere fleet of fishing boats that are laden with explosives. If enough of those boats could be mobilized around the stealth ship, says Zhaozhong, its high-tech hull could be blown apart sending the boat straight to the bottom of the sea.
That, of course, is not how the Pentagon wants to spend a few billion dollars. "Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it," Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, adds to the AP. "Buying hyper-expensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can't do the job, or worse can't survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible."
A 2008 report on the ship from US Navy Vice Admiral Barry McCullough revealed that “the DDG-1000 cannot perform area air defense” and that the ship essentially lacked any ability to fire at enemies located above, making it a sitting duck for air attacks. At the time, a naval source with Defense News said that the ship "could carry and launch standard missiles, but the DDG 1000 combat system cant guide those missiles onward to a target."
Off the sea and in the air, the Pentagon is having other problems with costly crafts that aren’t operating up to snuff. After a serviceman was killed on board an F-22 Raptor stealth jet in 2010, the Air Force has repeatedly grounded the fleet over security concerns. Recently, several pilots announced that they would refuse to board the craft until all of its kinks were worked out. The Air Force has spent around $77.4 billion on its F-22 fleet so far — the cost of building and maintaining around 11 of the DDG-1000s — but has been forced to ground them time and time again. Around $400billion worth of high-tech F-35 fighter jets have been grounded no fewer than three times as well.
Although the Navy first ordered 32 of the DDG-1000s, they have slashed that figure three times; once the first boat is finished, only two more are currently slated to join it.