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Navy Using Stealthy New Ships to Test Hypersonic Missiles

Weapons testing

Navy Using Stealthy New Ships to Test Hypersonic Missiles

The U.S. Navy is keen on field testing its latest high-tech weapons, including hypersonic missiles, using its newest and most modern warships, a flag officer close to the program said. Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Naval Surface Forces, revealed that the service is planning to test a Conventional Prompt Strike hypersonic boost glide missile and weapon system on the DDG-1000 USS Zumwalt destroyer.

Kitchener told Pentagon reporters that pursuing hypersonic missile development is a “viable path,” saying that the Navy has resolved to head in that direction. Lockheed Martin, which is developing the weapon for the service, has already conducted a significant number of live fire hypersonic strike system tests.

The three-star admiral said that the hypersonics program has also given the Navy an opportunity to use its fleet of stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyers to prove new concepts. The service has three of the futuristic looking vessels in its inventory, though it had originally intended to buy more of them before costs swelled, National Defense reported Thursday.

Kitchener said DDG-1000 will likely take part in an exercise in 2022. Additionally, DDG-1001 USS Michael Monsoor recently took part in an exercise called “Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem,” where the stealth ship operated alongside unmanned vehicles.

Unmanned vessels are becoming an increasingly important technology for the Navy and it is testing a variety of systems, including unmanned surface, underwater and aerial vehicles, Kitchener further revealed.

Other weapons the service wants to experiment with include anti-surface warfare systems and new strike missiles, Kitchener said. He noted that a new missile was recently deployed from a Littoral Combat Ship in the Western Pacific. The service also wants access to more targeting data from its ships and is looking at several different concepts in that direction, including Project Overmatch, he said.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: China Defense and Intelligence Department of Defense Department of Navy high-tech weapon systems hypersonic missiles National Defense Magazine Roy Kitchener