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The Military Linux

USS Zumwalt — a Guided Missile Destroyer Running On Linux 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the heavily-armed-tux dept.
New submitter SanDogWeps writes "Sean Gallagher over at Ars Technica reports that when the U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG 1000) puts to sea later this year, it will be different from any other ship in the Navy's fleet in many ways. The $3.5 billion ship is designed for stealth, survivability, and firepower, and it's packed with advanced technology. And at the heart of its operations is a virtual data center powered by off-the-shelf server hardware, various flavors of Linux, and over 6 million lines of software code. From the article: 'Called the Common Display System, or CDS (pronounced as "keds" by those who work with it), the three-screen workstations in the operations center are powered by a collection of quad-processor Intel motherboards in an armored case, which gives new meaning to the nautical phrase "toe buster." Even the commanding officer's and executive officer's chairs on the bridge have CDS workstations built-in. Each CDS system runs multiple LynxOS-based Linux virtual machines, which can run on various networks partitioned by security level and purpose. '"
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USS Zumwalt — a Guided Missile Destroyer Running On Linux

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  • by RetiredMidn (441788) on Friday October 18, 2013 @03:29PM (#45168493) Homepage
    The captain's name is James Kirk.
  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday October 18, 2013 @03:33PM (#45168557) Homepage

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that anti-ship missile technology has been ahead of defence systems now for quite some time, such that basically any ship that gets within range of them is basically always sunk. What's more, Russia, Iran and China all have such missiles. What exactly are these ships being built for, beyond the jobs they produce?

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday October 18, 2013 @03:42PM (#45168719)

      Sorry, did you just ask what's the purpose of building ships when they can be sunk?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The arms race changes day-to-day, but AFAIK, the CIWS system, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS [wikipedia.org], when armed, is quite capable of handling current airborne missiles.

      • Well, according to that wikipedia page, that weapons system was in service since 1980. The missiles I'm talking about are these ones [nytimes.com] and are much more modern. I have read that Russia got significantly further ahead than the US in the area of anti-ship missiles and as such, the US defences against them have never been tested for real.

        • The various advanced anti-ship missiles usually have one or more of four features:
          1) low altitude
          2) supersonic cruise or a supersonic sprint at the end of their trajectory
          3) low radar profile
          4) high/random maneuverability during approach

          The Russian missle discussed in that article has 2 and 3.

          All four features are pretty well known and understood, and have been addressed in the most recent block upgrades of the CIWS, RIM-116 and SM-2. The SM-2 got improved target finding logic (helps with 1 and
    • by Antipater (2053064) on Friday October 18, 2013 @03:50PM (#45168825)

      a) I doubt anyone outside of classified weapons research actually knows whether offense or defense currently has the advantage.
      b) The Zumwalt is a guided missile destroyer, which means that it will be the thing launching said anti-ship missiles at the other side's ships. It doesn't matter how deadly the enemy is, if you take them out before they take you out.

    • by Shatrat (855151)

      What ship has ever been invincible? I think the idea here is that between stealth for defense and enhanced radar and electronics for offense, this ship will shoot first.

    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that anti-ship missile technology has been ahead of defence systems now for quite some time, such that basically any ship that gets within range of them is basically always sunk.

      You're wrong.

      A quick check shows that only one "modern" warship has been sunk by anti-ship missiles, and that was in the Falklands war 31 years ago.

      Note that "modern" label above is NOT intended to imply that Sheffield had any modern defenses or anything.

      The only "modern" warship w

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Whether it sinks is largely irrelevant. What matters is whether it can continue as a viable warship for the duration of the conflict.

        A Navy is pointless if every ship will be limping back to shore at the end of the first day.

        • Whether it sinks is largely irrelevant. What matters is whether it can continue as a viable warship for the duration of the conflict.

          By this definition, we have TWO warships taken out by anti-shipping missiles. Neither was equipped to modern standards for defense (basically impossible, since both hits happened more than 25 years ago)...

          Note, by the way, that USS Yorktown (the WW2 version, not the newer one, or the newest one) was severely damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea, and after quick repairs we

    • one of the features of this ship is stealth. they won't shoot it down if they don't see it.

      but it is a scary idea that a $10K missile can take out a $3.5B ship.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        but it is a scary idea that a $10K missile can take out a $3.5B ship.

        There isn't an army anywhere in the world that can't be completely annihilated by about $1k worth of bullets. However, it really isn't much of a concern unless the army just lies in its bunks while the bad buys systematically travel from base to base shooting everybody once in the head.

        In order for the missile to take out the ship, it has to hit the ship. For that matter, it also needs to be fired on a course where it will encounter the ship, which isn't a small problem either (this requires knowing about

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2013 @04:35PM (#45169401)

      It's primarily fire support for marine assaults. During the Gulf War, the last battleships left in service, the Iowa class, served in a fire support and artillery role for shore based forces. This proved to be very effective, as the Mark 7 16" guns delivered a lot of firepower faster and cheaper than missiles and could do it pretty quickly, and redirect said fire more quickly than it took to program a firing solution into the cruise missiles.

      However, we retired the battleships as they were ancient relics. In addition, they had limited range; the Mark 7s could fire about 38 kms. Current naval fire support is done through the 5" Mark 45 guns on the DDG51s, but those have even less range (about 20 or so kms) and deliver smaller payloads.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Gun_System

      The Zumwalt is designed around this weapon system. It fires 10 rounds per minute, using a 155mm shell which is the same shell used by land based artillery. It has a range of 100+ kms and is accurate to 50 meters. This would significantly extend the capabilities of shore based operations. The stealth isn't so much for defense as for offense; if the enemy is aware of the ship they'll move out of the area. So effectively this destroyer is a stealthy highly mobile long range artillery platform.

    • Your understanding is incorrect. There is nothing particularly special about anti-ship missiles and there are no anti-ship missiles that cannot be intercepted by the myriad active defense systems that currently protect the US Navy. The cost is also asymmetric; intercepting an anti-ship missile is much cheaper than the anti-ship missile, so it is difficult to make it up in volume.

      There is nothing that flies through the air that cannot be hit by modern active intercept technologies. The trend away from heavy

      • My understanding was based on articles like this one [rense.com]. Can you point me to evidence that the Moskit's can be destroyed by this ships anti-missile defences?

    • :(){ :|:& };:

      There I just sank your battleship!

    • Even if there's an advantage to the offense once the missile has been launched, in order to get to that point the attacker must
      (1) Find the ship (stealthy, under EMCON, and moving)
      (2) Get within range
      (3) Live long enough to fire the missile.

    • Engagement:
      1) Carrier group moves in range for fighters and bombers
      2) aircraft destroy all missiles capable of destroying a carrier.
      3) carrier group moves closer, with smaller ships surrounding the carrier to take damage from any missiles that happened to survive.
    • by hey! (33014)

      ...any ship that gets within range of them [anti-ship missiles] is basically always sunk....What exactly are these ships being built for...?

      To answer your explicit question, Zumwalt is being built primarily to attack land targets with cruise missiles. Some people doubt we need a new ship class to do that though. I expect one of the things they hope to achieve is much smaller manpower requirements. According to the Wikipedia (take that as you will) Zumwalt will mount almost as many missile launch cells as the Arleigh Burke class destroyers (80 vs. 90), but require less than half the personnel (140 vs 300) to operate.

      As for your implicit ques

  • Not linux (Score:4, Informative)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday October 18, 2013 @03:34PM (#45168569) Homepage

    LynxOS is a proprietary Unix, compatible with Linux binaries.
    It does not contain the Linux kernel and is closed source.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Yea got to love the media hype. New Flash guys: JavaScript isn't JAVA..

      But, I can assure you that Linux is alive and well in the Department of Defense. But so is Windows XP, MP, 98 and beyond...

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      I stopped following ars since their horrid change of format, is it surprising or not surprising ars pushed it as Linux?
    • The design of the Zumwalt solves that problem by using off-the-shelf hardware—mostly IBM blade servers running Red Hat Linux—and putting it in a ruggedized server room.

      Many servers are running Linux not Lynx.

    • Re:Not linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday October 18, 2013 @04:13PM (#45169143)

      LynxOS is a proprietary Unix, compatible with Linux binaries.
      It does not contain the Linux kernel and is closed source.

      And I didn't see anywhere in the summary or article that said runs Linux exclusively. The component they refer to as running LynxOS is only one part of the whole.

      FTA:

      mostly IBM blade servers running Red Hat Linux—and putting it in a ruggedized server room. Those ruggedized server rooms are called Electronic Modular Enclosures (EMEs), sixteen self-contained, mini data centers built by Raytheon.

      I'm pretty sure anything called Red Hat Linux is going to contain the Linux kernel.

    • by fnj (64210)

      LynxOS is a proprietary Unix, compatible with Linux binaries.
      It does not contain the Linux kernel and is closed source.

      And your point is? From TFA:

      The design of the Zumwalt solves that problem by using off-the-shelf hardware—mostly IBM blade servers running Red Hat Linux—and putting it in a ruggedized server room.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux certainly IS open source.

  • Perhaps it's appropriate that the first commanding officer of the Zumwalt will be Captain James Kirk (yes, that's actually his name).

    Come on US Navy, you can tell us: you saw the name and went for it :)

    As for the article, very nice! I never did get what "DDG-1000" stand for, but I think it's ominous. The T-800 and T-1000 were not the best names for hardware, and anything close to it is suspect by default.

    A commenter said: "Also of note: the ship has a totally electric propulsion system, and has an integrated power system that will support future weapons like railguns and laser/RF system" - pretty interesting.

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      "DD" = destroyer
      "G:" = guided missile
      "1000" = Generally warships are numbered sequential but they moved to an easily identifiable number to designate a new generation of ships.

    • by Sez Zero (586611)

      Perhaps it's appropriate that the first commanding officer of the Zumwalt will be Captain James Kirk (yes, that's actually his name).

      Come on US Navy, you can tell us: you saw the name and went for it :)

      Why isn't it the DDG-1701?!

  • mis-read that as the USS Zubaz [youtube.com]?
  • And I still can't get dual screens to work reliably/painlessly. Sigh.

  • the lead character in Rick Cook's Wizardry books?
  • The first commanding officer of the Zumwalt will be Captain James Kirk (yes, that's actually his name).

  • I'm sorry Navy but I have to tell you, "keds" is not how you would pronouce that acronym. It would be CODS- COmmon Display System! First you guys write your name on your ass and then you command your ships via the cods...come on guys, this stuff just writes itself!
  • I heard of the Admiral via his brother, my civics teacher. This is the same admiral that was involved with the hover craft stuff the D.O.D. does. This linux vessel is right down his alley. My civics teacher, a good guy, but a round peg in a room full of square holes.

    All hale the class of '72
  • I misread the name as USS Umwelt and I figured it appropriate that nobody could agree what OS it was running.

    Also, the stealth features would have to be impressive:
    Enemy1: What's that on our radar?
    Enemy2: It looks like a US Navy Destroyer
    Enemy1: I don't know it could be a small fishing boat
    Enemy2: No, wait ... how did a giant wooden rabbit get this far out to sea?

  • by EuclideanSilence (1968630) on Friday October 18, 2013 @07:19PM (#45170799)

    Linux runs on old hardware.
    Linux runs on embedded hardware.
    Linux runs on XBOX.
    Linux runs on a toaster.

    Some geek out there is smugly telling his friends "I made Linux run on a US Navy Destroyer".

  • Use of open source software in a military context violates the ethics of open source software systems.

    These ethics are inherent I would like to point out, and are not arguable. Particularly if you are from a country this weapon will be parked next to if your private central bank refuses to do business in federal reserve notes.

    Open source is a human endeavor and since it holds no boundaries such acts as including it in state weapons is blasphemous.

    The blow back from this sort of weaponization of LINUX will b

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Use of open source software in a military context violates the ethics of open source software systems."

      Citation needed.

  • Isn't there a rule against this?

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.

Working...