WASHINGTON — Development work for the new Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, scheduled to be ordered in 2019, is on track, a key US Navy admiral said Monday.

"We know we need more power, we know we need more cooling," Rear Adm. John Hill, program executive officer of integrated warfare systems for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), told an audience at the Navy League's annual Sea Air Space exposition. "But that is where [NAVSEA] is focused."

The Flight III ships will be fitted with the new Air Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), under development by Raytheon. The new sensor will replace SPY-1D radars fitted in earlier versions of the ships. Both SPY-1D and AMDR are the primary sensors for the Aegis combat system, which will continue to be fitted in Flight III ships.

The first Flight III ship is scheduled to be the second of two destroyers to be funded in 2016.

"By all accounts we're on track. Everything's looking good for this destroyer," Hill declared. "When we get this ship to sea it will be the most powerful warship on the planet."

Capt. Casey Moton, NAVSEA's program manager for mission module integration on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), gave the audience an update on efforts to install Hellfire missiles on the ships. The Navy has settled on a vertical launch configuration using parts of the Army's launch system, Moton said, with the missile acquiring the target after launch.

Firing tests have been carried out on the test ship Relentless, Moton said, and more test fire events are scheduled this year. The first LCS installation and test firing won't take place until early 2016, he said, "probably on an LCS 2-class ship," although the first ship hasn't yet been selected.

Both the Independence and Freedom classes of LCS will receive the missile, he said.

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