A ScanEagle is recovered at sea aboard the destroyer USS Oscar Austin
Oscar Austin's maiden deployment in late 2002 resulted in her participation in the opening strikes of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Oscar Austin deployed in September 2005, once again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ship returned from a successful deployment in March 2006.
Oscar Austin is the first ship of the Flight IIA subclass of the Arleigh Burke class. Compared to previous Burkes, Flight IIAs are 4 feet 6 inches (1.37 m) longer, displace about 900 tons more, carry six more Vertical Launching System cells, and have a hangar that can house two SH-60 Seahawkhelicopters. To prevent the additional superstructure aft from fouling radar returns, the rear-facing SPY-1D panels are one deck higher. Oscar Austin is one of two Flight IIA ships using the older 5-inch/54 caliber naval rifle (the other is Roosevelt) which cannot use certain advanced munitions that require the longer 5 in/62 caliber gun mounted by USS Winston S. Churchill and later Burkes.