Navy Again Reduces Scope of Destroyer Modernization, 5 Ships Won’t Receive Any Ballistic Missile Defense Upgrades

March 4, 2015

USNI News:

Five Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51) will forgo a combat system upgrade that would allow the ships to fight ballistic missile threats as part of a reduction in modernization funding included in the Navy’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget that will save the service $500 million over the next five years, USNI News has learned.

Modernization periods for five Flight IIA Burkes — USS Howard (DDG-83); USSMcCampbell (DDG-85); USS Mustin (DDG-89); USS Chafee (DDG-90); USS Bainbridge(DDG-96) — will not include the Baseline 9C Aegis Combat System series of processing power and software upgrades to bring an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability to the destroyers, according to an unclassified version of the current modernization plan seen by USNI News.

Instead, the ships will undergo a much more modest upgrade that will focus on hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E) systems repairs, leaving the ships — all commissioned between 2001 to 2004 — without any ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability.

Additionally — without the Baseline 9 upgrade — the ships will not be wired into the Navy’s emerging Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA (pronounced: nifk-kah)) that would allow destroyers to download targeting information from assets outside of the range of their SPY-1D radars to attack air and BMD threats with the Raytheon Standard Missile 6 (SM-6).

The budget line item in FY 2016 budget reduces modernization funding by $63.1 million — about what it would cost to upgrade a ship to Baseline 9 — which precluded the Baseline 9 upgrade for Howard.

Equivalent cuts to the Burke modernization line in the Navy’s Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) — about $500 million over five years, USNI News understands — created a knock-on effect for the McCampbell, Mustin, Chafee and Bainbridge modernizations preventing the service from buying long-lead materials for the ships and allowing even a basic BMD capability, USNI News has learned…

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