Charles F. Adams-class destroyer

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Charles F. Adams-class destroyer
USS Charles F Adams (DDG-2) underway c1973.jpg
USS Charles F. Adams
Class overview
Name: Charles F. Adams class
Preceded by: Farragut class
Succeeded by: Spruance class
Completed: 23
Retired: 23
Preserved: 2
General characteristics
Type: Guided missile destroyer
  • 3,277 tons standard
  • 4,526 full load
Length: 437 ft (133 m)
Beam: 47 ft (14 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
  • 2 × steam turbines providing 70,000 shp (52,000 kW); 2 shafts
  • 4 × 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 310-333
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 AN/SPS-10 surface search RADAR[1]
  • 1 AN/SPS-37 air search RADAR[1]
  • 1 AN/SPS-39 3D air search RADAR[1]
  • 2 AN/SPG-51 Tartar fire control RADAR[1][2]
  • 1 AN/SPG-53 gun fire control RADAR[1][3]
  • AN/SQS-23 SONAR[1][4]

The Charles F. Adams class is a ship class of 29 guided missile destroyers built between 1958 and 1967. Twenty three destroyers were built for the United States Navy, three for the Royal Australian Navy, and three for the West German Bundesmarine. The design of these ships was based on that of Forrest Sherman-class destroyers, but the Charles F. Adams class were the first class designed to serve as guided missile destroyers. [Note 1] 19 feet (5.8 m) of length was added to the center of the design of the Forrest Sherman class to carry the ASROC launcher. The Charles F. Adams-class destroyers were the last steam turbine-powered destroyers built for the U.S. Navy. Starting with the later Spruance-class destroyers, all U.S. Navy destroyers have been powered by gas turbines. Some of the destroyers of the Charles F. Adams class served during the blockade of Cuba in 1962 and during the Vietnam War.

New threat update and decomissioning[edit]

Although designed with cutting-edge technology for the 1950s, by the mid-1970s it was clear to the Navy that the Charles F. Adams-class destroyers were not prepared to deal with modern air attacks and guided missiles. To reduce this vulnerability, the U.S. Navy began the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) program. This consisted of a number of sensor, weapons and communications upgrades that were intended to extend the service lives of the ships. Under the NTU, these destroyers received improved electronic warfare capability through the installation of the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 EW Suite.

The upgraded combat system would include the MK86 Gun Fire Control System with AN/SPQ-9 radar, the Hughes AN/SPS-52C 3D radar, the AN/SPG-51C (Digital) Fire Control Radars, and the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). These ships were also planned to have the ability to launch several Harpoon antiship missiles, which were to be installed in their MK-11 Tartar missile launcher.

During the 1980s, the Reagan Administration chose to accelerate production of the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and build the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, both classes with the Aegis Combat System that was considered more effective than NTU-upgraded ships, to gradually replace all existing destroyer and cruiser classes (especially the expensive nuclear-powered cruisers). The result of this was that only three of Charles F. Adams-class destroyers, Tattnall, Goldsborough, and Benjamin Stoddert received the full upgrade. Other ships, of the class, such as Charles F. Adams, received only partial upgrades, which included the AN/SLQ-32 and Harpoon Missile upgrades, that were intended to extend their service lives until the Arleigh Burke class could reach operational capability.

The United States Navy decommissioned its last Charles F. Adams destroyer, Goldsborough, on 29 April 1993. The Australian and German navies decommissioned their last ships of this class by 2003. Four ships of this class were transferred to the Hellenic Navy in 1992, but those have also been decommissioned.

Charles F. Adams will open as a museum ship on November 11, 2016. The German destroyer Mölders was made into a museum ship, but all of the other destroyers in the class have been sunk as targets, sunk for diving wrecks or sold for scrap.

Ships in class[edit]

Mölders, a Lütjens-class destroyer as museum ship of the German Navy
Ship name Hull no. Commission–
Fate Notes
Charles F. Adams DDG-2 1960–1990 Museum hold [5]
John King DDG-3 1961–1990 Scrapped [6]
Lawrence DDG-4 1962–1990 Scrapped [7]
Claude V. Ricketts DDG-5 1962–1989 Scrapped [8]
Barney DDG-6 1962–1990 Scrapped [9]
Henry B. Wilson DDG-7 1960–1989 Sunk as target [10]
Lynde McCormick DDG-8 1961–1991 Sunk as target [11]
Towers DDG-9 1961–1990 Sunk as target [12]
Sampson DDG-10 1961–1991 Scrapped [13]
Sellers DDG-11 1961–1989 Scrapped [14]
Robison DDG-12 1961–1991 Scrapped [15]
Hoel DDG-13 1962–1990 Converted to power barge, then scrapped [16]
Buchanan DDG-14 1962–1991 Sunk as target [17]
Berkeley DDG-15 1962–1992 Sold to Greece as Themistocles (D221), scrapped later [18]
Joseph Strauss DDG-16 1963–1990 Sold to Greece as Formion (D220), scrapped later [19]
Conyngham DDG-17 1963–1990 Scrapped [20]
Semmes DDG-18 1962–1991 Sold to Greece as Kimon (D218), scrapped 2006 [21]
Tattnall DDG-19 1963–1991 Scrapped [22]
Goldsborough DDG-20 1963–1993 Sold to Australia as a parts hulk, scrapped later. [23]
Cochrane DDG-21 1964–1990 Scrapped [24]
Benjamin Stoddert DDG-22 1964–1991 Sank while under tow en route for scrapping [25]
Richard E. Byrd DDG-23 1964–1990 Sold to Greece for parts, sunk as target later [26]
Waddell DDG-24 1964–1992 Sold to Greece as Nearchos (D219), sunk as target later [27]

Hellenic Navy[edit]

Four destroyers were transferred to the Hellenic Navy;

Lütjens class[edit]

Lütjens rendering honours after the September 11 attacks

The Lütjens-class destroyer was a modification of the Charles F. Adams class for the Bundesmarine (the Navy of West Germany). It differed from the Charles F. Adams class in the layout of the crew accommodations, the location of the bow sonar, a second large aerial mast and different funnels.

Perth class[edit]

The Royal Australian Navy had three Charles F. Adams-class units constructed to their own specifications (these ships were designated the Perth class). Although broadly similar to the US Navy's vessels, the Australian ships were fitted with the Ikara system instead of the ASROC that was fitted to the American units. The three ships were:


  1. ^ The Farragut class was built at roughly the same time, but they were classified as frigates until 1975.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.437
  2. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U.S. Navy: Shipboard Radars" United States Naval Institute Proceedings December 1978 p.144
  3. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U.S. Navy: Shipboard Radars" United States Naval Institute Proceedings December 1978 p.145
  4. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U.S. Navy: Sonars, Part 1" United States Naval Institute Proceedings July 1981 p.119
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