The U.S. Navy's 21st Century Destroyer (DD 21) Class will comprise 32 ships and be the first in a family of 21st century surface combatants. This next-generation warship will be a multi-mission destroyer, focused for land attack. The Land Attack Destroyer (DD 21) will be its first class of ships designed and built during the 21st century to be powered by electric drive featuring an integrated power architecture.
The first of the DD 21 class of destroyers is expected to be in commission by the end of this decade. Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig said, " Electric drive will reduce the cost, noise and maintenance demands of how our ships are driven. More importantly, electric drive, like other propulsion changes, will open immense opportunities for redesigning ship architecture, reducing manpower, improving shipboard life, reducing vulnerability and allocating a great deal more power to warfighting applications."
Major benefits related to electric drive are derived in two areas, warfighting capability and quality of life for sailors.
In terms of warfighting, this technology represents significant increases in stealth capability through signature reduction, and a large increase in available power that is seen as critical to future weapons systems that will be aboard Navy ships.
Electric drive technology also represents great potential to improve the quality of life for embarked sailors. It will free up large amounts of internal space, leaving room for significant habitability improvements.