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What should become of the Zumwalt class? The US Navy has some big ideas.

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy is exploring a major ship alteration for its three stealth destroyers that would further drive up the cost of the platform but could deliver a radical new hypersonic capability in the ongoing naval competition with China in the western Pacific.

In a solicitation posted March 18, the Navy asked industry for ideas on how to reconfigure the Zumwalt class to host larger hypersonic missiles of a size that would not fit in the vertical launch system tubes currently installed on the ships. The service also wants that business to provide the missiles and supporting software and technology to support the missiles.

Specifically, the Navy is looking for ideas about installing an “advanced payload module” that can support the Navy’s conventional prompt strike missiles “in a three-pack configuration,” according to the notice.

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