Spruance-class destroyer

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USS Spruance (DD-963)
USS Spruance (DD-963), shown with VLS.
Class overview
Name: Spruance-class destroyer
Builders: Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Charles F. Adams-class destroyer
Succeeded by: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Subclasses: Kidd-class destroyer
Built: 1972–1983
In commission: 1975–2005
Completed: 31
Active: 1 (Paul F. Foster) as SDTS
Retired: 30
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 8,040 (long) tons full load
Length: 529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overall
Beam: 55 ft (16.8 m)
Draft: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
3,300 nautical miles (6,100 km; 3,800 mi) at 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 19 officers, 315 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air search radar
AN/SPG-60 fire control radar
AN/SPS-55 surface search radar
AN/SPQ-9 gun fire control radar
Mk 23 TAS automatic detection and tracking radar
AN/SPS-65 Missile fire control radar
AN/SQS-53 bow mounted Active sonar
AN/SQR-19 TACTAS towed array Passive sonar
Naval Tactical Data System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
Mark 36 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
AN/SLQ-49 Inflatable Decoys
AN/WLR 1 in DD-971 & DD-975.
Armament: • 2 × 5-inch (127mm) 54 calibre Mark 45 dual purpose guns
• 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS Mark 15 guns
• 1 × 8 cell ASROC launcher
• 1 × 8 cell NATO Sea Sparrow Mark 29 missile launcher
• 2× quadruple Harpoon missile canisters
• 2 × Mark 32 triple 12.75 in (324 mm) torpedo tubes (Mk 46 torpedoes)
• 2 × quadruple ABL Mark 43 Tomahawk missile launchers (some ships of the class)
• 1 × 21 cell Rolling Airframe Missile launcher in some ships.
A 61-cell Mark 41 VLS launcher for Tomahawk/ASROC missiles was fitted to 24 ships in place of the 8-cell ASROC launcher.
Aircraft carried: 2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for up to two medium-lift helicopters

The Spruance-class destroyer was developed by the United States to replace a large number of World War II-built Allen M. Sumner- and Gearing-class destroyers and was the primary destroyer built for the U.S. Navy during the 1970s.

First commissioned in 1975, the class was designed with gas-turbine propulsion, all-digital weapons systems, and automated 5-inch guns. Serving for three decades, the Spruance class was designed to escort a carrier group with a primary ASW mission, though in the 1990s 24 members of the class were upgraded with the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) for the Tomahawk surface-to-surface missile. Rather than extend the life of the class, the navy accelerated its retirement. The last ship of the class was decommissioned in 2005, with most examples broken up or destroyed as targets.[1]

History[edit]

Design[edit]

The class was designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with point defense anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) missiles; upgrades provided anti-ship and land attack capabilities. The ships were initially controversial, especially among members of the United States Congress who believed that their unimposing looks, with only two guns and an ASROC or Armored Box Launcher (ABL) missile launcher per ship implied that the vessels were weak compared to Soviet or older US designs which had more visible guns or launchers for the Standard medium range missiles. Despite the criticism they were successful in their intended ASW role.[2]

The Spruances were comparable in size to cruisers (CG) under the U.S. Navy's hull classification symbol system.[citation needed]. Despite their "DD" designation indicating gun destroyers, their primary armament was missiles. However the Spruance class as designed carried anti-aircraft missiles only sufficient for point defense, compared to other American destroyers designated as DDG which were designed to provide anti-aircraft warfare screening to the fleet while also having surface-to-surface capabilities. A major update in the 1990s would add a Vertical Launch Missile System (VLS) for the Tomahawk surface-to-surface missile which effectively made the modernized vessels up to DDG standard, although this class still lacked the stealth and missile capabilities of later Aegis equipped cruisers and destroyers.

Six Spruance-class destroyers fitting out, c. May 1975.

The "Spru-cans" were the first large U.S. Navy ships to use gas turbine propulsion; they had four General Electric LM2500 gas turbines to generate about 80,000 horsepower (60 MW). This configuration (developed in the 1960s by the Royal Navy and known as COmbined Gas And Gas, or COGAG) was very successful and used on most subsequent U.S. warships. A slightly lengthened version of the hull was also used for the Ticonderoga-class cruisers. As of 2010, all US Navy surface combatants (except nuclear aircraft carriers and the LCS-1) use the LM2500 COGAG arrangement, usually with two such turbines per shaft.

The entire class of 30 ships was contracted on 23 June 1970 to the Litton-Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, under the Total Package Procurement concept originated by the Whiz Kids of Robert McNamara's Pentagon. The idea was to reap the benefits of mass construction, but labor and technical problems caused cost overruns and delayed construction.[citation needed] One additional ship, USS Hayler, was ordered on 29 September 1979. Hayler was originally planned as a DDH (Destroyer, Helicopter) design, which would carry more anti-submarine helicopters than the standard design of the Spruance class. Eventually this plan to build a DDH was scrapped and a slightly modified DD-963 class hull was put in commission. Four additional ships were built for the Iranian Navy with the Mark 26/Standard AAW missile system but were completed as Kidds for the U.S. Navy. The Kidds were nearly identical to the Spruances but they were more advanced general-purpose ships. It was once planned to build all of the Spruance class up to this standard, but it was too expensive.

An air-capable mini V/STOL aircraft carrier with fighters and ASW helicopters based on the Spruance hull was seriously considered but not produced.[3][4]

Upgrades[edit]

The Spruance design is modular in nature, allowing for easy installation of entire subsystems within the ship. Although originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, 24 ships of this class were upgraded with the installation of a 61 cell Vertical Launch Missile System (VLS) capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The remaining seven ships not upgraded were decommissioned early. At least ten VLS ships, including Cushing, O'Bannon, and Thorn, had a 21 cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher mounted on the starboard fantail.

  • David R. Ray tested the RAM system in the 1980s, but had the system removed after the tests.
  • Oldendorf was the test platform for the AN/SPQ-9B Anti-ship Missile Defense (ASMD) Firecontrol Radar to be outfitted on the San Antonio class amphibious transport dock. The AN/SPQ-9B is used to detect all known and projected sea skimming missiles.
  • Arthur W. Radford tested the Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensor system which helped in the mast design of San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ships.
  • Merrill served as the Navy's test platform for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program receiving armored box launchers and test launching a Tomahawk 19 March 1980. Merrill carried two ABLs and an ASROC launcher into the 1990s until the ASROC launcher was removed.

Spruance-class destroyers fired 112 land attack Tomahawks during Operation Desert Storm.[5]

Fate[edit]

The US Navy planned to replace its current destroyers and cruisers with the new Zumwalt class destroyer (DDG-1000) ships. In order to save $28 million a year the navy accelerated retirement of the ships, though they could have served to 2019 had they been maintained and updated.[6] The last Spruance-class destroyer on active service, USS Cushing, was decommissioned on 21 September 2005. It was then offered to the Pakistan Navy, but was sunk as a target 29 April 2009. Per the 2010 U.S. Defense budget, only three DDG-1000s are being built.[7] The Arleigh Burke class is the navy's only operational class of destroyers.[8]

Some Spruance destroyers were broken up, but rather than being preserved in storage like some older classes, the majority of the class finished their lives as targets. Most were deliberately sunk in various fleet exercises. One notable exception was the four ships of the Kidd class that were transferred to the Republic of China Navy (Taiwan). They are active and referred to as the Kee Lung class.

The USS Paul F. Foster replaced the USS Decatur in 2005 as the Self Defense Test Ship. It is a refurbished ship, operated by remote control which avoids the safety constraints and other problems associated with manned ships being targeted by or towing targets by live weapons. The prearranged attack is in practice aimed at a decoy barge pulled 150 feet behind the SDTS in case of damage.[9]

Ships in class[edit]

Ship Name Hull No. Commission–
Decommission
Disposition Link
Spruance DD-963 1975–2005 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [1]
Paul F. Foster DD-964 1976–2003 Struck 6 April 2004; in use as a Self Defense Test Ship [2] [3]
Kinkaid DD-965 1976–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [4]
Hewitt DD-966 1976–2001 Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling [5]
Elliot DD-967 1977–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [6]
Arthur W. Radford DD-968 1977–2003 Disposed of as artificial reef on 10 August 2011 off coast of Delaware [7]
Peterson DD-969 1977–2002 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [8]
Caron DD-970 1977–2001 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [9]
David R. Ray DD-971 1977–2002 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [10]
Oldendorf DD-972 1978–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [11]
John Young DD-973 1978–2002 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [12]
Comte de Grasse DD-974 1978–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [13]
O'Brien DD-975 1977–2004 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [14]
Merrill DD-976 1978–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [15]
Briscoe DD-977 1978–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [16]
Stump DD-978 1978–2004 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [17]
Conolly DD-979 1978–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [18]
Moosbrugger DD-980 1978–2000 Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling [19]
John Hancock DD-981 1978–2000 Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling [20]
Nicholson DD-982 1979–2002 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [21]
John Rodgers DD-983 1979–1998 Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling [22]
Leftwich DD-984 1979–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [23]
Cushing DD-985 1979–2005 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [24]
Harry W. Hill DD-986 1979–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [25]
O'Bannon DD-987 1979–2005 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [26]
Thorn DD-988 1980–2004 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [27]
Deyo DD-989 1980–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [28]
Ingersoll DD-990 1980–1998 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [29]
Fife DD-991 1980–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [30]
Fletcher DD-992 1980–2004 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [31]
Hayler DD-997 1983–2003 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise [32]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Military Officer Greyhounds of the Sea By Gina DiNicolo[dead link]
  2. ^ Bishop, Chris. Encyclopedia of World Sea Power. 1988. ISBN 0-517-65342-7. Page 94-95
  3. ^ "Historical Review of Cruiser Characteristics, Roles and Missions". Aandc.org. 
  4. ^ John Pike. "CG-47 Ticonderoga-class". Globalsecurity.org. 
  5. ^ "DD-963 SPRUANCE-class – Navy Ships". Fas.org. 
  6. ^ "USN Abandons New Ship Designs by James Dunnigan August 2, 2008". Strategypage.com. 2 August 2008. 
  7. ^ Bennett, John T. and Kris Osborn. "Gates Reveals DoD Program Overhaul". Defense News, 6 April 2009.
  8. ^ "US guided missile destroyer to visit Subic Bay Tuesday". Philippine Star. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  9. ^ John Pike. "Global Security information". Globalsecurity.org. 

External links[edit]