U.S. Navy Plans Stealth Battleships

Message posted by Jose on January 09, 2001 at 19:55:13 EST:

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2001

LONDON (UPI) - The U.S. Navy will disclose plans this week for the "Stealth bomber of the seas," a new generation of battleship designed to fire missiles deep into enemy territory while moving through oceans powered by eco-friendly electricity, published reports said Tuesday.

The first battleship is scheduled to set sail in 2010. The defense supplier General Dynamics will reveal public diagrams of the DD-21 destroyer later this week.

"It's like going from sail to steam," former Rear Admiral Kendall Pease, vice president of General Dynamics, told the New York Times.

The DD-21 would carry more firepower, more quietly, than any other warship, but at $750 million, the cost of the new weapon could defeat the project even before it is launched.

Defenders of the DD-21 say that it will be more powerful and harder to trace than current destroyers and cheaper to run because it requires a crew of 95. Destroyers at present have crews up to 400.

Critics of the plan say the United States does not face a serious rival at sea and should spend the money on diplomacy or revitalizing its existing fleet, according to the London Times.

"In the wake of the end of the Cold War, we recognized that big naval battles on the open sea are not likely," said Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, a supporter of the DD-21.

Like the B2 Stealth bomber aircraft, the DD-21's surfaces are sloped to deflect radar signals. The ship's generator will be quieter, with less impact on the environment than conventional turbines.

The London Times said the ship would carry at least 120 cruise missiles, which would be fired hundreds of miles inland, as well as two large guns with 1,500 shells accurate from a distance of more than 100 miles.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International.

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