Magazine article Sea Classics

Our Modern Navy Series: Destroyers

Magazine article Sea Classics

Our Modern Navy Series: Destroyers

Article excerpt

Proven in past conflicts, the destroyers carry on as guardians of the fleet. They support amphibious forces, carrier battle groups, replenishment vessels and surface forces by providing protection from anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-surface threats. They can also perform long-range strike warfare against land targets.

Three classes of destroyers serve in today's US Navy: the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)-class, the Kidd (DDG-993)-class and the Spruance (DD-963)-class. Their combination of firepower and versatility makes them fearsome surface combatants.

The technological leader is the Arleigh Burke-class, named in honor of the long-serving combat leader and CNO. Built by Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding, they feature steel construction and excellent damage control to enhance survivability. Displacing 8315 tons fully loaded - more than twice that of the Oliver Hazard Perryclass frigates - the brawny warships can still achieve a speed of 31 knots through four gas turbines producing a total of 100,000 shaft horsepower and turning huge, five-bladed propellers.

Advanced systems make the innovative design the most formidable destroyer ever. The Aegis combat system and multi-function-phased array radar with the Vertical Launching System and Standard and Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles along with Mark 46 torpedoes, a 5-inch Mark 45 gun and two 20mm Phalanx Gatling guns enable an accurate and coordinated defense against a wide range of targets.

The Arleigh Burke-class ships are being built in flights to allow new additions. …

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