CNO Defines Future Large Surface Combatant as ‘DDG Next’

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51). The next generation has been dubbed “DDG-Next” by CNO Adm. Michael Gilday. U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Yarborough

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s top admiral envisions the next-generation large surface combatant as the next-generation guided-missile destroyer, or in his term, “DDG-Next.” 

The Future Large Surface Combatant is to be one of several new surface combatant vessels in the Future Surface Combatant Family Vessels that also will include the Constellation-class guided-missile frigate, the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel and the Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel. 

“When you talk about large surface combatants, people in their mind’s eye, they’re thinking ‘battleship,’ said CNO Adm. Michael Gilday, speaking Oct. 13 in a Defense One webinar and responding to a question from USNI News.  “That’s not where we’re going. We’re talking about a ship that’s probably going to be smaller than a Zumwalt [guided-missile destroyer]. I don’t want to build a monstrosity. 

“But, I need deeper magazines on a manned ship than we have right now [on the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers],” Gilday said, noting that the Navy “is limited with respect to DDG[51] Flight IIIs in terms of what additional [systems] we could put on those ships. … [We] can’t put much more on those hulls.” 

The CNO said the plan was to design “the next destroyer, one that would be a new hull. “What we would leverage is existing technologies to put on that hull … and to update [and] modernize those capabilities over time.” 

Gilday compared the design concept of DDG-Next to the process that produced the DDG 51 class, one of a new hull with existing reliable, proven technologies such as the Aegis Combat System. 

“That’s why I call it DDG-Next … smaller than a Zumwalt but packing some power,” he said.