The U.S. Navy will accept the lead ship of its Zumwalt destroyer program before the end of 2019 but testing will continue to enhance the ship’s combat capability, USNI News reported Tuesday.
The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) may undergo combat system testing through 2020, according to DDG-1000 program manager Capt. Kevin Smith. Smith said once testing is complete on Paul F. Foster, the Navy may move to USS Zumwalt to conduct live-fire capability demonstration.
The Navy is testing the SM-2 system aboard the ex-Paul F. Foster (DD-964) ship, which previously conducted tracking exercises and test fires. The lead ship is expected for final delivery in September. Zumwalt is already equipped with its combat system and is being tested in Alaska, California and Hawaii.
Meanwhile, the second of the Zumwalt class ships, the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), entered its combat system installation period. Smith said the ship should be out of the yard and ready for testing by the end of the year. Construction of the new Navy ships take place at the yards of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine and BAE Systems in San Diego.