Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

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USS Arleigh Burke, the lead ship of the class, in 2013
Class overview
NameArleigh Burke class
Builders
Operators United States Navy
Preceded by
Succeeded by
CostUS$1.843 billion per ship (DDG 114–116, FY2011/12)[1]
Built1988–present
In commission1991–present
Planned92
On order9
Building10
Completed73
Active73
Retired0
General characteristics
TypeGuided-missile destroyer
Displacement
  • Fully loaded:
  • Flight I: 8,300 LT (8,400 t)[2]
  • Flight II: 8,400 LT (8,500 t)[3]
  • Flight IIA: 9,500 LT (9,700 t)[4]
  • Flight III: 9,700 LT (9,900 t)[5]
Length
  • Flights I & II: 505 ft (154 m)[7]
  • Flights IIA & III: 509.5 ft (155.3 m)[7]
Beam66 ft (20 m)[2]
Draft31 ft (9.4 m)[2]
Installed power
  • Flights I–IIA: 3 × Rolls-Royce AG9140 Generators (3,000 kW (4,000 hp) each, 450 V)
  • Flight III: 3 × Rolls-Royce AG9160 Generators (4,000 kW (5,400 hp) each, 4,160 V)[14][15]
Propulsion
SpeedIn excess of 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)[7]
Range4,400 nmi (8,100 km; 5,100 mi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)[2]
Boats & landing
craft carried
2 × rigid-hull inflatable boats[13]
Complement
  • Flight I: 303 total[8]
  • Flight IIA: 23 officers, 300 enlisted[8]
Sensors and
processing systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Armament
Armor130 tons of Kevlar splinter protection around vital areas[9]
Aircraft carried
Aviation facilities
  • Flights I & II: Flight deck only, but LAMPS III electronics installed on landing deck for coordinated DDG-51/helo ASW operations
  • Flights IIA & III: Flight deck and enclosed hangars for two MH-60R LAMPS III helicopters

The Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) is a United States Navy class of destroyer centered around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multi-function passive electronically scanned array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, an American destroyer officer in World War II and later Chief of Naval Operations. With an overall length of 505 to 509.5 feet (153.9 to 155.3 m), displacement ranging from 8,300 to 9,700 tons, and weaponry including over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are larger and more heavily armed than many previous classes of guided-missile cruisers.

These warships are multi-mission destroyers able to conduct anti-aircraft warfare with Aegis and surface-to-air missiles; tactical land strikes with Tomahawk missiles; anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with towed array sonar, anti-submarine rockets, and ASW helicopters; and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) with ship-to-ship missiles and guns. With upgrades to their AN/SPY-1 radar systems and their associated missile payloads as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, as well as the introduction of the AN/SPY-6 radar system, the class has also evolved capability as mobile anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite platforms.

The lead ship of the class, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke's lifetime on 4 July 1991. With the decommissioning of the last Spruance-class destroyer, USS Cushing, on 21 September 2005, the Arleigh Burke-class ships became the U.S. Navy's only active destroyers until the Zumwalt class became active in 2016. The Arleigh Burke class has the longest production run of any U.S. Navy surface combatant. As of October 2023, all seventy-three built are active, with nineteen more planned to enter service.

Characteristics[edit]

Variants[edit]

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer has four variants, referred to as "Flights". Newer Flights incorporate technological advancements.[2]

  • Flight I: DDGs 51–71
  • Flight II: DDGs 72–78
  • Flight IIA: DDGs 79–124 and DDG-127
  • Flight III: DDGs 125–126 and DDG-128 onwards[7]

Structure[edit]

The Arleigh Burke-class ships are among the largest destroyers built in the United States;[16] only the Spruance, Kidd (563 ft or 172 m), and Zumwalt classes (600 ft or 180 m) are longer. The Arleigh Burke class was designed with a new large, water-plane area-hull form characterized by a wide flaring bow, which significantly improves seakeeping ability and permits high speed in high sea states.[2] The class's design incorporates stealth techniques, such as the angled (rather than traditional vertical) surfaces and the raked tripod mainmast,[17] which make the ship more difficult to detect by radar.

Its designers incorporated lessons from the Ticonderoga-class cruiser, which the Navy deemed too expensive to continue building and difficult to upgrade further.[18] For these destroyers, the U.S. Navy returned to all-steel construction, except the mast made of aluminum.[19] The Ticonderogas had combined a steel hull with a superstructure made of lighter aluminum to reduce top weight, but the lighter metal proved vulnerable to cracking. Aluminum is also less fire-resistant than steel;[20] a 1975 fire aboard USS Belknap gutted her aluminum superstructure.[21] Battle damage to Royal Navy ships exacerbated by their aluminum superstructures during the 1982 Falklands War supported the decision to use steel. Other lessons from the Falklands War led to the Navy's decision to protect the Arleigh Burke class's vital spaces with double-spaced steel layers, which create a buffer against anti-ship missiles (AShMs), and Kevlar spall liners.[22]

Passive defenses[edit]

Arleigh Burke destroyers are equipped with AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare (EW) suites that provide electronic support.[2] Vessels with the SLQ-32(V)3, SLQ-32(V)6, or SLQ-32(V)7 variant have an additional capability to jam targeting and AShM guidance radar.[23][24]

Mark 36 SRBOC fires a chaff decoy from USS Stout

The destroyers have Mark 36 infrared and chaff decoy launchers, as well as Nulka decoy launchers, for spoofing incoming anti-ship missiles.[25][26] For defeating incoming torpedoes, the class has two Nixie towed countermeasures.[27] The ships' Prairie-Maskers can reduce their radiated noise.[28]

A collective protection system makes the Arleigh Burke class the first U.S. warships designed with an air-filtration system against nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare (NBC).[29] Other NBC defenses include double air-locked hatches, pressurized compartments, and an external countermeasure washdown system.[30] The class's electronics are hardened against electromagnetic pulses.[31] Fire suppression equipment includes water sprinklers in the living quarters and combat information center (CIC).[22] The CIC is below the waterline.[19]

Weapon systems[edit]

The Arleigh Burke class are multi-mission ships[8] with numerous combat systems, including anti-aircraft missiles, land attack missiles, ship-to-ship missiles, and an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) system.[22] Missiles are stored in and fired from Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) cells; with 90 cells on Flights I–II and 96 cells starting with Flight IIA,[32] the Arleigh Burkes are more heavily armed than many preceding guided-missile cruiser classes.[16] The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which combines information from the ship's sensors to display a coherent image of the environment and guides weapons to targets using advanced tracking and fire control.[33]

Their main radar differs from traditional mechanically rotating radars. Instead, Aegis uses the AN/SPY-1D passive electronically scanned array (or the AN/SPY-6 active electronically scanned array on Flight III ships), which allows continual tracking of targets simultaneous to area scans. The system's computer control also allows centralization of the previously separate tracking and targeting functions. The system is resistant to electronic countermeasures.[34][35][36]

USS The Sullivans (foreground) and other ships conducting a coordinated SM-2MR launch

The Standard Missile SM-2MR/ER and SM-6 provide area air defense, though they may also be used in a secondary ASuW role.[37] The SM-2 uses semi-active radar homing (SARH), meaning that up to three targets may be simultaneously intercepted since the Arleigh Burkes have three AN/SPG-62 fire-control radars for terminal target illumination.[38][8] The SM-6, which provides over-the-horizon defense,[39] and the SM-2 Block IIIC feature a dual-mode seeker with active radar homing (ARH) capability; they do not have to rely on external illumination, so more targets could theoretically be intercepted simultaneously.[40][41]

Flights IIA and III—and modernized Flight I and II ships—can carry RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs),[42][43][44] which provide medium-range air defense and are also capable of targeting other ships. ESSM is small enough to be quad-packed into a single Mk 41 VLS cell. ESSM Block 1 uses SARH, guided similarly to older SM-2s. ESSM Block 2 features a dual-mode seeker with ARH capability, and it was scheduled for initial operating capability (IOC) in 2020.[45]

The SM-3, SM-6, and SM-2ER Block IV provide Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), the SM-3 being an exoatmospheric interceptor[46] and the latter two having terminal phase anti-ballistic capability.[47][39] So vital has the Aegis BMD role become that all ships of the class are being updated with BMD capability.[48] By August 2021, there were 42 BMD-capable Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.[49] Flight III ships have been delivered since 2023 with AN/SPY-6(V)1 radars and improved BMD capabilities; Flight IIA ships are also planned to receive these upgrades with AN/SPY-6(V)4 radar retrofits.[50]

Flights I and II carry two stand-alone Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers for a total of four or eight Harpoons,[51] giving them an anti-ship capability with a range in excess of 64 nautical miles (119 km; 74 mi).[2]

The class can perform tactical land strikes with VLS-launched Tomahawks.[2] With the development of the Tomahawk Block V, all existing Block IV Tomahawks carried will be converted to the Block V. The Tomahawk Block Va version is called the Maritime Strike version, and it provides anti-ship capability in addition to its land attack role. The Block Vb version features the Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System for hitting a wider variety of land targets.[52][53]

USS Preble shooting a Mark 46 torpedo

Arleigh Burke-class ships feature the Navy's latest AN/SQQ-89 ASW combat system, which is integrated with Aegis. It encompasses the AN/SQS-53C bow-mounted sonar and a towed array sonar, though several Flight IIA ships do not have a towed array.[54] The towed array is either the AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar (TACTAS) or the newer TB-37U Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA). The ships carry standoff RUM-139 anti-submarine rockets, which have a range of 22 km and deploy the Mark 54 ASW torpedo. For short-range defense against submarines, they have two Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes—one to the port side and one to the starboard side—that can fire the Mark 46, Mark 50, and Mark 54 ASW torpedoes. The ships can detect anti-ship mines at a range of about 1,400 meters.[55][56]

All ships of the class are fitted with at least one Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS), which provides point defense against air and surface threats. Eight ships (DDG-51, DDG-64, DDG-71, DDG-75, DDG-78, DDG-80, DDG-84, DDG-117) are equipped with one SeaRAM CIWS to improve their self-defense.[57][58][59][60][61]

Arleigh Burkes can also carry two 25 mm Mk 38 machine gun systems, one on each side of the ship, designed to counter fast surface craft.[62] There are numerous mounts for crew-served weapons like the M2 Browning.[63]

USS Forrest Sherman in 2007, test firing her new 5"/62-caliber Mark 45 Mod 4 gun, located forward of her 32-cell missile pack module

Located on the forward deck is the 5-inch (127 mm) Mark 45 gun. Directed by the Mark 34 Gun Weapon System, it can be used in anti-ship, anti-air, and naval gunfire support roles. It can fire 16–20 rounds per minute and has a range of 13 nautical miles (24 km).[N 3][66] Arleigh Burkes can stow 680 5-inch rounds.[67][64]

USS Kidd (DDG-100) near Naval Base San Diego with front ODIN system

As of 2023, five destroyers (DDG-100, DDG-105, DDG-106, DDG-111, DDG-113) are equipped with the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), a directed energy weapon that can target unmanned vehicles.[68][69][70] DDG-88 is equipped with the higher-power High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS).[71]

Aircraft[edit]

MH-60 Seahawk above USS Bulkeley's flight deck

Flights IIA and III are equipped with two hangars for stowing MH-60 helicopters. Their Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter system improves the ship's capabilities by enabling the MH-60 to monitor submarines and surface ships, launch torpedoes and missiles against them, and provide fire support during insertions/extractions with machine guns and Hellfire anti-armor guided missiles. The helicopters also serve in a utility role, able to perform vertical replenishment, search and rescue, medical evacuation, communications relay, and naval gunfire spotting and controlling.[72]

In March 2022, an Arleigh Burke destroyer was deployed with an AAI Aerosonde unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The aircraft is under demonstration for Flight I and II ships, which do not have accommodations for permanently storing helicopters. The Aerosonde has a small enough footprint to be stowed on those destroyers. It can perform missions such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at a much lower cost than manned helicopters.[73]

Development[edit]

Origins and Flight I[edit]

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) from 1970 to 1974, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, sought to improve the U.S. fleet through modernization at minimal cost. Zumwalt advocated for a "high-low mix" philosophy. He envisioned the high-low mix as constituted by a few high-end, high-cost warships and numerous low-end, low-cost warships. The introduction of the Aegis-equipped Ticonderoga-class cruiser in the early 1980s filled the high end. The Navy started work to develop a lower-cost Aegis-equipped vessel to fill the low end and replace the aging Charles F. Adams destroyers.[74][75][76]

In 1980, the U.S. Navy initiated design studies with seven contractors. By 1983, the number of competitors had been reduced to three: Bath Iron Works, Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Todd Shipyards.[29] On 3 April 1985, Bath Iron Works received a US$321.9 million contract to build the first of the class, USS Arleigh Burke.[77] Gibbs & Cox was awarded the contract to be the lead ship design agent.[78] The Navy contracted Ingalls Shipbuilding to build the second ship.[79]

Political restraints led to design restrictions, including the absence of helicopter hangars, a displacement limit of 8,300 tons, and a 50-foot shorter hull than the Ticonderoga's. The designers were forced to make compromises, such as a wide flaring bow. To compensate for the limited length, the originally-planned 80,000 shaft horsepower (shp) LM2500 gas turbines were upgraded to 100,000 shp.[74] No main gun was included in the original design, later amended to include an OTO Melara 76 mm, before finally selecting the 5-inch/54-caliber Mark 45.[9][76] Despite their constraints, the designers benefitted from insight gained from previous classes; for example, they chose an all-steel superstructure to improve survivability.[22]

The total cost of the first ship was $1.1 billion, the other $778 million being for the ship's weapons systems.[77] USS Arleigh Burke was laid down by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988, and launched on 16 September 1989 by Mrs. Arleigh Burke. The Admiral himself was present at her commissioning ceremony on 4 July 1991, held on the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.[74] Orders for Flight I ships continued through 1995.

Flight II[edit]

The Flight II iteration of the class was introduced in FY1992.[2] The incorporation of the AN/SRS-1A(V) Combat Direction Finding enhanced detection of signals.[80] The TADIX-B, JTIDS Command and Control Processor, and Link 16 improved communication with other assets.[81] The SLQ-32 EW suite was upgraded to (V)3, and the SPS-67(V)3 surface search radar was upgraded to (V)5.[82] Flight II also gained the capability to launch and control the SM-2ER Block IV.[83] An expansion of fuel capacity slightly increased the displacement.[19]

Flight IIA[edit]

Profile of Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

The Flight IIA design was first procured in FY1994.[84] Among the additions are two hangars and support facilities for ASW helicopters, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC),[83] the Kingfisher mine detection system, and five blast-resistant bulkheads.[32] To accommodate the hangars, the length was increased to 509.5 ft (155.3 m), and the rear-facing SPY-1D arrays are mounted one deck (eight feet) higher to prevent a blind spot.[85] Flight IIA also replaced retractable missile loading cranes on the forward and aft VLS with a total of six additional cells. The propellers are of a different design to reduce cavitation.[86] New fiber optics helped minimize weight gain and improve reliability.[87] Systems omitted from Flight IIA include the Harpoon missile launchers[N 4] and, starting with USS McCampbell (DDG-85), the forward Phalanx CIWS.[88] Flight IIA ships were initially built without the AN/SQR-19 TACTAS,[54] though later units were subsequently installed with TACTAS.[85]

Starting with USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81), the longer 5-inch/62-caliber (127 mm) Mark 45 Mod 4 gun was installed.[32] Later Flight IIA ships starting with USS Mason (DDG-87) use the BridgeMaster E as their navigation radar instead of the AN/SPS-73(V)12.[89] Subsequent Flight IIA ships employ additional signature-reduction measures: the hangars of DDG-86 onwards are made of composite materials, and the exhaust funnels of DDG-89 onwards are buried within the superstructure.[32] The use of the improved SPY-1D(V) radar, starting with USS Pinckney (DDG-91), enhances the ships' ability to filter out clutter and resist electronic attack.[90]

USS Momsen, 2006, with torpedo tubes mounted on aft missile deck rather than earlier amidships mounting, superstructure changes to accommodate an AN/WLD-1 holding bay, and lacking CIWS

Several Flight IIA ships were constructed without any Phalanx CIWS because of the planned Evolved SeaSparrow Missile; the Navy had initially decided that ESSM made Phalanx redundant.[32] However, the Navy later changed its mind and decided to retrofit all IIA ships to carry at least one Phalanx CIWS by 2013.[88]

DDGs 91–96 (USS Pinckney, USS Momsen, USS Chung-Hoon, USS Nitze, USS James E. Williams, and USS Bainbridge) were built with superstructure differences to accommodate the AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System (RMS).[91] However, only Pinckney, Momsen, and Bainbridge were installed with the system before the RMS program was canceled.[27]

Modernization[edit]

Efforts to modernize the Arleigh Burke class began amid congressional concerns over the retirement of the Iowa-class battleship. In 1996, the Navy began a program to field the Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) for the DDG-51 class.[92] The ERGM was to extend the class's 5-inch Mark 45 gun range to 63 nautical miles (117 km). It necessitated a modification of the gun; the 62-caliber Mark 45 Mod 4 was created and installed on DDG-81 and onwards in anticipation of the ERGM.[93][32] However, the ERGM was canceled in 2008.[94]

The current DDG-51 modernization program is designed to provide mid-life upgrades to ensure the destroyers remain effective with service lives of at least 35 years.[95] Modernization of existing ships provides commonality with in-production ships. The program's goals are reduced manning, increased mission effectiveness, and reduced total cost.[8] Mid-life modernization of Flight I and II ships is done in two phases: the first phase updates the hull, mechanical, and electrical (HM&E) systems, while the second phase focuses on Aegis Combat System upgrades and introduces an Open Architecture Computing Environment (OACE).[44] By 2017, modernization technologies were introduced to production ships, and the Navy started modernization of Flight IIA ships through a single process combining both phases of upgrading.[95] The capabilities of modernized destroyers include CEC, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD),[N 5] ESSM support, improved electronic support capability with Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2, improved data processing with Boeing's Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System,[96] and improvements to littoral combat.[N 6][97][44]

Combat information center aboard USS John S. McCain

In July 2010, BAE Systems announced it had been awarded a contract to modernize 11 ships.[98] In May 2014, USNI News reported that 21 of the 28 Flight I and II Arleigh Burke-class destroyers would not receive the full mid-life upgrade that included electronics and Aegis Baseline 9 software for SM-6 compatibility; instead, they would retain the basic BMD 3.6.1 software in a $170 million upgrade concentrating on HM&E systems, and on some ships, their anti-submarine suite.[99][100] Seven Flight I ships—DDGs 51–53, 57, 61, 65, 69—received the full $270 million Baseline 9 upgrade.[99] Deputy of surface warfare Dave McFarland said that this change was due to the budget cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011.[101]

In 2016, the Navy announced it would begin outfitting 34 Flight IIA Arleigh Burke vessels with a hybrid-electric drive (HED) to lower fuel costs. The four LM2500 gas turbines of the Arleigh Burkes are most efficient at high speeds; an electric motor was to be attached to the main reduction gear to turn the drive shaft and propel the ship at speeds under 13 knots (24 km/h), such as during BMD or maritime security operations. Use of the HED for half the time could extend time on station by 2.5 days before refueling.[102] In March 2018, the Navy announced the HED would be installed on USS Truxtun (DDG-103) to test the technology, but upgrades of further destroyers would be halted due to changed budget priorities.[103]

USS Cole (left) and two other Arleigh Burke-class destroyers docked at Naval Station Norfolk in July 2009

Also in 2016, four destroyers of the U.S. 6th Fleet based in Naval Station Rota, Spain (USS Carney, USS Ross, USS Donald Cook, and USS Porter) received self-protection upgrades, replacing one of their two Phalanx CIWS with a SeaRAM CIWS, which combines the Phalanx sensor dome with an 11-cell RIM-116 launcher. This was the first time the system was paired with an Aegis ship.[104] Another four ships (USS Arleigh Burke, USS Roosevelt, USS Bulkeley, and USS Paul Ignatius) have since been forward-deployed to Rota and also received a SeaRAM.[58][59][60][61]

In February 2018, Lockheed Martin received a contract to deliver its High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) system for installation onto an Arleigh Burke destroyer. HELIOS is a "60+ kW"-class laser, scalable to 120 kW, that can "dazzle" or destroy small boats and UAVs up to 8.0 km (5 mi) away.[105][106] It would be the first laser weapon put on a warship.[107][108] In November 2019, USS Dewey (DDG-105) had the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) system installed. ODIN differs from the XN-1 LaWS previously mounted on USS Ponce in that ODIN functions as a dazzler, which blinds or destroys optical sensors on drones rather than shooting down the aircraft.[109][110] HELIOS was delivered to the Navy in August 2022 and installed on USS Preble (DDG-88). Preble is expected to begin at-sea testing of the HELIOS in FY2023.[71]

Also by 2018, all Arleigh Burke-class ships homeported in the Western Pacific were scheduled to have upgraded ASW systems, including the TB-37U MFTA replacing the AN/SQR-19 TACTAS.[111][112]

In FY2019, the Navy started a program to procure the Mod 4 variant of the Mark 38 machine gun system[113] to address "unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and high speed maneuverable unmanned surface vehicle (USV) threats."[114] Mod 4 will incorporate the 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster II instead of the 25 mm M242 Bushmaster of previous variants[115] for increased accuracy, lethality, and effective range. The Mk 38 Mod 4 was scheduled to achieve IOC on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in FY2022,[114] and it will be fielded on Flights IIA and III.[116]

In October 2020, National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien said that all three Flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would field the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) missile developed under the Conventional Prompt Strike program. However, the C-HGB is expected to be around 3 ft (0.91 m) wide, making it too large to fit in Mk 41 VLS tubes or on deck launchers. Installing them on Arleigh Burke destroyers would require removing some Mk 41 cells to accommodate the larger weapon, an expensive and time-consuming process.[117][118] There is criticism of this idea: the oldest Flight I ships would need a service life extension to justify refit costs that would only prolong their service lives a short time when they are already more expensive to operate, and the newest Flight III ships that are optimized for BMD would be given a new, complex mission requiring a major refit shortly after introduction.[119]

About 20 Flight IIA destroyers will undergo further modernization under the DDG MOD 2.0 program.[120] DDG MOD 2.0 will backfit SPY-6(V)4 and Aegis Baseline 10 to provide similar capabilities to Flight III ships,[N 7] as well as upgrade cooling systems to support the new radar. DDG MOD 2.0 will also deliver the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 EW suite, which adds the SEWIP Block 3 electronic attack subsystem.[24][122] In May 2021, the Navy approved a "Smart Start Plan" for four ships—DDGs 91, 93, 95, 97—to make a gradual transition to DDG MOD 2.0. These ships will undergo a DDG MOD 1.5 phase that provides the SLQ-32(V)7; in 2023, DDG-91 became the first destroyer to receive SLQ-32(V)7.[123] They will then receive the SPY-6(V)4, Aegis Baseline 10, and cooling system upgrades during a later depot modernization period.[122]

Production restarted[edit]

A destroyer of the Zumwalt class, the next after the Arleigh Burke class. Only 3 ships out of 32 planned Zumwalts were built.

USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) was originally intended to be the last of the Arleigh Burke class. The class was scheduled to be replaced by Zumwalt-class destroyers beginning in 2020.[124] However, an increasing threat from both long- and short-range missiles caused the Navy to restart production of the Arleigh Burke class[125] in place of the Zumwalt class and consider placing littoral combat mission modules on the new ships.[126][127][128] The U.S. Navy has been producing Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for longer than any other surface combatant class in the Navy's history.[129]

In April 2009, the Navy announced a plan limiting the Zumwalt class to three units while ordering another three Arleigh Burke-class ships from both Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding.[128] In December 2009, Northrop Grumman received a $170.7 million letter contract for USS John Finn (DDG-113) long-lead-time materials.[130] Shipbuilding contracts for DDG-113 to DDG-115 were awarded in mid-2011 for $679.6 million–$783.6 million;[131] these do not include government-furnished equipment such as weapons and sensors, which will take the average cost of the FY2011/12 ships to $1.843 billion per vessel.[1]

DDG-113 to DDG-115 are "restart" ships, similar to previous Flight IIA ships, but including modernization features such as OACE and the TB-37U MFTA, which are being backfit onto previous ships.[132]

Flight IIA Technology Insertion[edit]

DDG-116 to DDG-124 and DDG-127 will be "Technology Insertion" ships with elements of Flight III.[133][134] For example, USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) and onwards have the AN/SPQ-9B, a feature of Flight III, instead of the AN/SPS-67.[135] Flight III proper began with the third ship procured in 2016,[136] USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125).[137]

In spite of the production restart, the U.S. Navy is expected to fall short of its requirement for 94 destroyer or cruiser platforms capable of BMD by FY2025 and continuing past the end of the 30-year planning window. While this was a new requirement in 2011, and the U.S. Navy has never had so many large missile-armed surface combatants, the relative success of the Aegis BMD System has shifted this national security requirement onto the U.S. Navy. The shortfall will arise as older BMD-capable Ticonderoga-class cruisers are retired in bulk before new destroyers are planned to be built.[138]

The U.S. Navy was considering extending the acquisition of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers into the 2040s, according to revised procurement tables sent to Congress, with the procurement of Flight IV ships from 2032 through 2041.[139] This was canceled to cover the cost of the Columbia-class submarines, with the air defense commander role retained on one cruiser per carrier strike group.[140]

In April 2022, the Navy proposed a procurement plan for nine ships, with an option for a tenth, to build two ships a year from 2023 to 2027. Some lawmakers pushed to add a third ship to be built in 2023, bringing the total of the proposed deal to eleven ships. This would follow the Navy's two-ship per year procurement from 2018 to 2022.[141]

Flight III[edit]

USS Jack H. Lucas, the first Flight III destroyer, after her launch on 4 June 2021

In place of the canceled CG(X) program, the U.S. Navy began detailed design work on a DDG-51 Flight III design in FY2013.[142] The Navy planned to procure 24 Flight III ships from FY2016 to FY2031.[143] In June 2013, it awarded $6.2 billion in destroyer contracts.[144] Costs for the Flight III ships increased as requirements for the program grew, particularly related to the planned Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) needed for the IAMD role.[145] An AMDR with a mid-diameter of 22 feet (6.7 m) was proposed for CG(X), while the DDG-51 Flight III design could carry an AMDR with a mid-diameter of only 14 feet (4.3 m).[146] The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the design would be "at best marginally effective" because of the "now-shrunken radar". The U.S. Navy disagreed with the GAO findings, stating that the DDG-51 hull was "absolutely" capable of fitting a large enough radar to meet requirements.[147]

The Flight III's AN/SPY-6 AMDR with a mid-diameter of 14 feet (4.3 m) uses an active electronically scanned array with digital beamforming, compared to the previous passive electronically scanned array AN/SPY-1D with a mid-diameter of 12 feet (3.7 m).[146][148][149] According to Raytheon, the contractor for the SPY-6, the 37-RMA SPY-6(V)1 offers a 15 dB improved sensitivity over SPY-1.[N 8][151] The Flight III's AMDR is integrated with Aegis Baseline 10.[152] The new radar also requires more power; the three-megawatt, 450 V AG9140 generators were upgraded to four-megawatt, 4,160 V AG9160 generators.[14][15] Additionally, the air conditioning plants were upgraded to increase the ships' cooling capacity.[153] The area near where the two rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) are stored was enclosed to accommodate additional crew, so the RHIBs are stacked.[154] Other modifications include replacement of the Halon-based fire suppression system with a water mist system and strengthening of the hull to support the design's additional weight.[153]

14 Flight III ships have been ordered,[155] and Flight III IOC is planned for 2024.[156] The U.S. Navy may procure up to 42 Flight III ships for an overall total of 117 ships of the class.[157]

Replacement[edit]

DDG(X) concept from Program Executive Office Ships (PEO Ships) as presented in the 2022 Surface Navy Association symposium. The first ship of this class is planned to enter service around the year 2030.

In April 2014, the U.S. Navy began the development of a new destroyer to replace the Arleigh Burke class called the "Future Surface Combatant". The new class is expected to enter service in the early 2030s and initially serve alongside the Flight III DDGs. The destroyer class will incorporate emerging technologies like lasers, onboard power-generation systems, increased automation, and next-generation weapons, sensors, and electronics. They will leverage technologies from other platforms, such as the Zumwalt-class destroyer, littoral combat ships, and the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.[158]

The Future Surface Combatant may place importance on the Zumwalt-class destroyer's electric drive system that provides propulsion while generating 58 megawatts of electrical power, levels required to operate future directed energy weapons. Initial requirements for the Future Surface Combatant will emphasize lethality and survivability. The ships must also be modular to allow for inexpensive upgrades of weaponry, electronics, computing, and sensors over time as threats evolve.[158] The Future Surface Combatant has evolved into the Large Surface Combatant, which became the DDG(X).[159]

Operational history[edit]

USS Milius launches a TLAM toward Iraq, first days of the Iraq War in 2003

The class saw its first combat action through Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) strikes against Iraq.[160] Over 3 and 4 September 1996, USS Laboon and USS Russell launched 13 and eight TLAMs, respectively, as part of Operation Desert Strike.[161] In December 1998, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers again performed TLAM strikes as part of Operation Desert Fox.[162] Eleven Arleigh Burkes supported carrier strike groups engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which included TLAM launches against ground targets during the operation's opening stages in 2003.[31][163]

In October 2011, the Navy announced that four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers would be forward-deployed in Europe to support the NATO missile defense system. The ships, to be based at Naval Station Rota, Spain, were named in February 2012 as Ross, Donald Cook, Porter, and Carney.[164] By reducing travel times to station, this forward deployment allows for six other destroyers to be shifted from the Atlantic in support of the Pivot to East Asia.[165] Russia threatened to quit the New START treaty over this deployment, calling it a threat to their nuclear deterrent.[166] In 2018, CNO Admiral John Richardson criticized the policy of keeping six highly mobile BMD platforms "in a little tiny box, defending land", a role that he believed could be performed equally well at less cost by shore-based systems.[167]

In October 2016, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Mason and Nitze were deployed to the coast of Yemen after a UAE auxiliary ship was struck in an attack for which Houthi rebels claimed responsibility.[168] On 9 October, while in the Red Sea, Mason detected two anti-ship missiles headed toward herself and nearby USS Ponce fired from Houthi-controlled territory. Mason launched two SM-2s, one ESSM, and a Nulka decoy. One AShM was confirmed to have struck the water on its own, and it is unknown if the second missile was intercepted or hit the water on its own.[169] On 12 October, in the Bab el-Mandeb strait, Mason again detected an inbound anti-ship missile, which was intercepted at a range of 8 miles (13 km) by an SM-2.[170][171] On 13 October, Nitze conducted TLAM strikes destroying three Houthi radar sites used in the previous attacks.[172] Back in the Red Sea, Mason experienced a third attack on 15 October with five AShMs. She fired SM-2s and decoys, destroying or neutralizing four missiles. Nitze neutralized the fifth missile with a radar decoy.[171][173]

On 7 April 2017, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Ross and Porter conducted a TLAM strike against Shayrat Airfield, Syria, in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical attack on his people three days prior.[174] The ships fired a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles.[175] On 14 April 2018, Laboon and Higgins conducted another TLAM strike against Syria. They fired seven and 23 TLAMs, respectively. The strike targeted chemical weapon sites as part of a continued effort against Assad's use of chemical warfare.[176] The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Donald Cook and Winston S. Churchill took positions in the Mediterranean prior to the 2018 strike to mislead defending forces.[177]

In October and November 2023, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carney and Thomas Hudner, while deployed in the Red Sea, shot down numerous drones and missiles. On 19 October, Carney shot down at least three cruise missiles and eight drones that were potentially targeting Israel.[178] On 15 and 22 November, Thomas Hudner shot down numerous drones launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen.[179] On 27 November, Carney detected two ballistic missile launches from Houthi-controlled territory headed towards herself and nearby M/V Central Park; they splashed ten 10 nautical miles away.[180] On 29 November, Carney intercepted another Houthi missile.[181]

Accidents and major incidents[edit]

USS Cole bombing[edit]

USS Cole being towed from the port city of Aden after the bombing. Blast damage to the hull is visible mid-ship.

USS Cole was damaged on 12 October 2000 in Aden, Yemen, while docked by an attack in which a shaped charge of 200–300 kg in a boat was placed against the hull and detonated by suicide bombers, killing 17 crew members. The ship was repaired and returned to duty in 2001.[182]

USS Porter and MV Otowasan collision[edit]

On 12 August 2012, USS Porter collided with the oil tanker MV Otowasan near the Strait of Hormuz; there were no injuries. The U.S. Navy removed Porter's commanding officer from duty. Repairs took two months at a cost of $700,000.[183]

USS Fitzgerald and MV ACX Crystal collision[edit]

On 17 June 2017, USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collided with the MV ACX Crystal cargo ship near Yokosuka, Japan. Seven sailors drowned. Following an investigation, the ship's commanding officer, executive officer, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer were relieved of their duties. In addition, close to a dozen sailors were given non-judicial punishment for losing situational awareness. Repairs were originally to be completed by the summer of 2019. However, initial repairs were made by February 2020. After the subsequent sea trials, she was brought in for additional repairs. The ship departed for her home port in June 2020.[184]

USS John S. McCain and Alnic MC collision[edit]

On 21 August 2017, USS John S. McCain collided with the container ship Alnic MC. The collision injured 48 sailors and killed 10, whose bodies were all recovered by 27 August. The cause of the collision was determined to be poor communication between the two ships and the bridge crew lacking situational awareness. In the aftermath, the ship's top leadership, including the commanding officer, executive officer, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer, were removed from command. In addition, top leadership of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, including the commander, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, were relieved of their duties due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command. Other commanders who were relieved included Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, and Captain Jeffrey Bennett, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15. This was the third incident involving a U.S. Navy ship in 2017, with a repair cost of over $100 million.[185]

Contractors[edit]

Ships in class[edit]

Derivatives[edit]

Destroyer classes based on the Arleigh Burke have been adopted by the following naval forces:[186][187]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2009 film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen features USS Preble.[191][failed verification]

The 2012 film Battleship features USS John Paul Jones, USS Benfold, and USS Sampson.[192]

The 2013 film Captain Phillips features USS Truxtun, which stood in for the ship from the true event, USS Bainbridge.[193]

The 2014 television series The Last Ship, loosely based on the 1988 novel of the same name, is set on the fictional USS Nathan James.[194] Its hull designation in the book is DDG-80, but it was changed to DDG-151 for the television series to avoid confusion with the real-life USS Roosevelt, which did not exist when the book was written. USS Halsey (DDG-97), a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, stood in for Nathan James during filming.[195]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of 2023, ODIN is deployed on five ships of the class.
  2. ^ As of 2023, SeaRAM is deployed on eight ships of the class.
  3. ^ The 5-inch/62-caliber Mark 45 Mod 4 can fire a munition called the Cargo Round, which gives the Mod 4 a range of over 20 nautical miles (37 km).[64][65]
  4. ^ According to Polmar, the Harpoon launchers were removed to save weight.[27] According to Wertheim, the Harpoon launchers were removed to save costs.[32]
  5. ^ Integrated Air and Missile Defense refers to the ability to simultaneously perform anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense.
  6. ^ Littoral combat refers to naval operations near shores.
  7. ^ The AN/SPY-6 is a scalable system made up of radar module assemblies (RMAs), self-contained 2'x2'x2' radar boxes. Different numbers of RMAs can be combined to create different-sized variants of the SPY-6.[121] Due to the smaller superstructure of Flight IIA ships compared to Flight III ships, the radar implementation will be scaled down from the Flight III's version (24-RMA SPY-6(V)4 vs. 37-RMA SPY-6(V)1).[50]
  8. ^ Decibels (dB) can be used as a measure of a radar's dynamic range, or sensitivity.[150] An increase in sensitivity of 15 dB enables the detection of objects "half the size at twice the distance."[151]

References[edit]

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