Here's The Navy's Vision For A New Cruiser To Replace The Aging Ticonderoga Class
The Navy's Ticonderoga class cruisers are in the back half of their operational careers yet the seagoing service has struggled to produce an actionable strategy to replace their unique capabilities. The 'Ticos' lives may be able to be extended a number of years, but a replacement will be needed and it will take years to move such an initiative from thought to form. Now, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral John Richardson, has put forward his vision and strategy to field such a vessel and it's bound to be a controversial one.
In an interview with Defense News' David Larter, the CNO explained that he wanted to model the next generation cruiser project on the FFG(X) frigate program that is currently underway. That program, which is as much a referendum on the stumbling Littoral Combat Ship as anything else, aims to procure an existing, mature hull design and modify it with the Navy's preferred sensors, combat system, and weaponry. The down-select of five competitors occurred just two months ago and the contract will be awarded to the winner in 2019. The first frigates are slated to come online in 2025, making the program quite aggressive in terms traditional naval procurement.
The difference between FFG(X) and the new cruiser initiative is that there are few existing large-hull surface combatant designs a....