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The Arleigh Burke class' of guided missile destroyers is the first destroyer of the United States Navy built around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The first ship was commissioned on 4 July 1991. After the decommissioning of the last Spruance-class destroyer, USS Cushing, on September 21, 2005, the Arleigh Burke class ships became the U.S. Navy's only active destroyers.

The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of World War II. Admiral Burke was alive when the class leader was commissioned.


The Arleigh Burke class are among the largest and most powerful destroyers ever built in the United States, both larger and more heavily armed than many previous cruisers. (The larger Ticonderoga class were constructed on Spruance class hullforms, but are designated as cruisers.)

The Arleigh Burke's designers incorporated many lessons learned by the Royal Navy during the Falklands campaign and from the USN Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruisers. The Ticonderoga class cruisers were supposedly becoming too expensive to continue building, and too difficult to upgrade. Visually, the angled rather than traditional vertical surfaces of the Arleigh Burke design are part of "stealth" technologies, which improve the ship's ability to evade and/or destroy anti-ship cruise missiles.

The Arleigh Burke class returns to the traditional all-steel construction. Combining a steel hull with an aluminum superstructure had been an innovation to reduce topweight, but the lighter metal proved vulnerable to cracking. Aluminum is also less fire-resistant than steel. A 1975 fire aboard USS Belknap gutted her aluminum superstructure. Later battle damage to British ships during the Falklands War supported the decision to employ a steel superstructure.

Her 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.

So vital has the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System role of the class become that all ships of the class are being updated with BMD capability. Production of Burkes is being restarted in place of the Zumwalt class destroyer.


In 1980 the United States Navy initiated design studies with seven contractors. By 1983 the number of competitors had been reduced to three; Bath Iron Worksmarker, Todd Shipyards and Ingalls Shipbuilding. On 3 April 1985 Bath Iron Works received a US$321.9 million contract to build the first of class, USS Arleigh Burke. Gibbs & Cox was awarded the contract to be the lead ship design agent. The total cost of the first ship was put at US$1.1 billion, the other US$778 million being for the ship's weapons systems. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Mainemarker, 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.

Profile of Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The "Flight IIA Arleigh Burke" ships have several new features, which has led some to suggest that they be renamed the "Oscar Austin" class after the first ship, Oscar Austin (DDG-79). Among the changes are the addition of two hangars for ASW helicopters, and a new, longer Mark 45 Mod 4 5-inch/62-caliber naval gun (fitted on Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) and later ships). Later Flight IIA ships starting with USS Mustin have a modified funnel design that buries the funnels within the superstructure as a signature-reduction measure. TACTAS Towed array sonar was omitted from flight IIA ships and they also lack Harpoon launchers. Ships from DDG-68 to DDG-84 have AN/SLQ-32 antennas that resemble V3 configuration similar to those deployed on Aegis cruisers, while the remainder have V2 variants externally resembling ones deployed on some Oliver Hazard Perry frigates. V3 has an active electronic countermeasures component while V2 is passive only. A number of Flight IIA ships were constructed without a Phalanx CIWS because of the planned Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, but later the Navy decided to retrofit all IIA ships to carry at least one Phalanx CIWS by 2013.

USS Pinckney, USS Momsen, USS Chung-Hoon, USS Nitze, USS James E. Williams and USS Bainbridge have superstructure differences to accommodate the Remote Mine-hunting System (RMS). Mk 32 torpedo tubes were moved to the missile deck from amidships as well.

The United States Navy has begun a modernization program for the Arleigh Burke class aimed at improving the gun systems on the ships in an effort to address congressional concerns over the retirement of the U.S. Iowa-class battleships. Among other things this modernization includes is the extension of the range of the 5-inch (127 mm) guns on the Flight I Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (USS Arleigh Burke to USS Ross) with extended range guided munitions (ERGMs) that would enable the ships to fire projectiles about inland. However the ERGM has been cancelled.


The U.S. Navy recently launched a modernization program that is designed to provide a comprehensive mid-life upgrade to ensure that the class remains effective. Reduced manning, increased mission effectiveness, and a reduced total cost of ownership are the goals of the modernization program. Modernization technologies will be integrated during new construction of DDG 111 and 112, then retrofitted into DDG Flight I and II ships during in service overhaul periods. The first phase will update the hull, mechanical and electrical systems while the second phase will introduce an open architecture computing environment. The result will be improved capability in both BMD and littoral combat.

They are scheduled to be replaced by the Zumwalt class destroyer beginning in 2020.

Operational History

One Arleigh Burke class ship, the USS Cole, was damaged by an attack in which an improvised explosive device was delivered by suicide bombers on a boat in October 2000 in Adenmarker, Yemenmarker (see USS Cole bombingmarker). The ship was repaired and returned to duty in 2001.



 Name   Number   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Home port   Status 
Flight I
Arleigh Burke DDG-51 Bath Iron Worksmarker 16 September 1989 4 July 1991 Active
Barry DDG-52 Ingalls Shipbuilding 8 June 1991 12 December 1992 Active
John Paul Jones DDG-53 Bath Iron Works 26 October 1991 18 December 1993 Active
Curtis Wilbur DDG-54 Bath Iron Works 16 May 1992 19 March 1994 Active
Stout DDG-55 Ingalls Shipbuilding 16 October 1992 13 August 1994 Active
John S. McCain DDG-56 Bath Iron Works 26 September 1992 2 July 1994 Active
Mitscher DDG-57 Ingalls Shipbuilding 7 May 1993 10 December 1994 Active
Laboon DDG-58 Bath Iron Works 20 February 1993 18 March 1995 Active
Russell DDG-59 Ingalls Shipbuilding 20 October 1993 20 May 1995 Active
Paul Hamilton DDG-60 Bath Iron Works 24 July 1993 27 May 1995 Active
Ramage DDG-61 Ingalls Shipbuilding 11 February 1994 22 July 1995 Active
Fitzgerald DDG-62 Bath Iron Works 29 January 1994 14 October 1995 Active
Stethem DDG-63 Ingalls Shipbuilding 17 July 1994 21 October 1995 Active
Carney DDG-64 Bath Iron Works 23 July 1994 13 April 1996 Active
Benfold DDG-65 Ingalls Shipbuilding 9 November 1994 30 March 1996 Active
Gonzalez DDG-66 Bath Iron Works 18 February 1995 12 October 1996 Active
Cole DDG-67 Ingalls Shipbuilding 10 February 1995 8 June 1996 Active
The Sullivans DDG-68 Bath Iron Works 12 August 1995 19 April 1997 Active
Milius DDG-69 Ingalls Shipbuilding 1 August 1995 23 November 1996 Active
Hopper DDG-70 Bath Iron Works 6 January 1996 6 September 1997 Active
Ross DDG-71 Ingalls Shipbuilding 22 March 1996 28 June 1997 Active
Flight II
Mahan DDG-72 Bath Iron Works 29 June 1996 2 February 1998 Active
Decatur DDG-73 Bath Iron Works 10 November 1996 29 August 1998 Active
McFaul DDG-74 Ingalls Shipbuilding 18 January 1997 25 April 1998 Active
Donald Cook DDG-75 Bath Iron Works 3 May 1997 4 December 1998 Active
Higgins DDG-76 Bath Iron Works 4 October 1997 24 April 1999 Active
O'Kane DDG-77 Bath Iron Works 28 March 1998 23 October 1999 Active
Porter DDG-78 Ingalls Shipbuilding 12 November 1997 20 March 1999 Active
Flight IIA ships: 5"/54 variant
Oscar Austin DDG-79 Bath Iron Works 7 November 1998 19 August 2000 Active
Roosevelt DDG-80 Ingalls Shipbuilding 10 January 1999 14 October 2000 Active
Flight IIA ships: 5"/62 variant
Winston S. Churchill DDG-81 Bath Iron Works 17 April 1999 10 March 2001 Active
Lassen DDG-82 Ingalls Shipbuilding 16 October 1999 21 April 2001 Active
Howard DDG-83 Bath Iron Works 20 November 1999 20 October 2001 Active
Bulkeley DDG-84 Ingalls Shipbuilding 21 June 2000 8 December 2001 Active
Flight IIA ships: with 5"/62 no 20 mm CIWS variant
McCampbell DDG-85 Bath Iron Works 2 July 2000 17 August 2002 Active
Shoup DDG-86 Ingalls Shipbuilding 22 November 2000 22 June 2002 Everett, Washingtonmarker Active
Mason DDG-87 Bath Iron Works 23 June 2001 12 April 2003 Active
Preble DDG-88 Ingalls Shipbuilding 1 June 2001 9 November 2002 Active
Mustin DDG-89 Ingalls Shipbuilding 12 December 2001 26 July 2003 Active
Chafee DDG-90 Bath Iron Works 2 November 2002 18 October 2003 Active
Pinckney DDG-91 Ingalls Shipbuilding 26 June 2002 29 May 2004 Active
Momsen DDG-92 Bath Iron Works 19 July 2003 18 September 2004 Everett, Washingtonmarker Active
Chung-Hoon DDG-93 Ingalls Shipbuilding 15 December 2002 18 September 2004 Active
Nitze DDG-94 Bath Iron Works 3 April 2004 5 March 2005 Active
James E. Williams DDG-95 Ingalls Shipbuilding 25 June 2003 11 December 2004 Active
Bainbridge DDG-96 Bath Iron Works 13 November 2004 12 November 2005 Active
Halsey DDG-97 Ingalls Shipbuilding 9 January 2004 30 July 2005 Active
Forrest Sherman DDG-98 Ingalls Shipbuilding 2 October 2004 28 January 2006 Active
Farragut DDG-99 Bath Iron Works 23 July 2005 10 June 2006 Active
Kidd DDG-100 Ingalls Shipbuilding 22 January 2005 9 June 2007 Active
Gridley DDG-101 Bath Iron Works 28 December 2005 10 February 2007 Active
Sampson DDG-102 Bath Iron Works 16 September 2006 3 November 2007 Active
Truxtun DDG-103 Ingalls Shipbuilding 2 June 2007 25 April 2009 Active
Sterett DDG-104 Bath Iron Works 19 May 2007 9 August 2008 Active
Dewey DDG-105 Ingalls Shipbuilding 26 January 2008 TBD 2010 Pre-commissioned
Stockdale DDG-106 Bath Iron Works 10 May 2008 18 April 2009 Active
Gravely DDG-107 Ingalls Shipbuilding 30 March 2009 Under Construction, launched
Wayne E. Meyer DDG-108 Bath Iron Works 18 October 2008 10 October 2009 Active
Jason Dunham DDG-109 Bath Iron Works 1 August 2009 Under Construction, launched
William P. Lawrence DDG-110 Ingalls Shipbuilding Under Construction, keel laid
Spruance DDG-111 Bath Iron Works Under Construction, keel laid
Michael Murphy DDG-112 Bath Iron Works Under Construction, pre-keel laying

The USS Michael Murphy was originally intended to be the last of the Arleigh Burke class, however with reduction of the Zumwalt class production, the Navy is considering adding new DDG-51 class ships. In April 2009, the Navy announced a plan that limited the Zumwalt class to three units while ordering another three Arleigh Burke class ships from both Bath Iron Worksmarker and Ingalls Shipbuilding.


Image:USS Fitzgerald DDG-62.jpg|In this image of , a Flight I ship, note TACTAS in center of fantail, lack of helicopter hangars, and design of stacks.Image:USS Mustin (DDG 89) stbd stern view.jpg|In this image of , a Flight IIA ship, note lack of TACTAS in center of fantail, aft helicopter hangars, Phalanx CIWS mount and different design of exhaust stacks.Image:USS Momsen (DDG 92) stbd bow view.jpg|Starboard side of , note torpedo tubes mounted on missile deck vs earlier mounted amidships. Also note superstructure changes to accommodate a Remote Minehunting System (RMS) holding bay.

See also


  1. "Navy Reverting To Steel In Shipbuilding After Cracks In Aluminum", The New York Times, August 11, 1987.
  2. Section F.7: Aluminum in warship construction., 30 March 2000.
  3. Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for Congress
  4. Fact Check - Technicals of AEGIS BMD
  6. Analyst: DDGs without CIWS vulnerable. Navy Times. September 16, 2008.
  7. DN-SD-07-24674 (up to DDG-96)
  8. Taken from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, pages 67-68
  9. Taken from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, page 193
  10. Federation of American Scientists report on the MK 45 5-inch gun and ammunition payload for the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers
  11. Navy ends ERGM funding - Navy Times
  12. The US Navy - Fact File
  13. DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-Class Aegis Guided-Missile Destroyer Modernization
  14. Some units had a CIWS added aft, as noted above (DDG-88 and DDG-89 are two examples with an aft Phalanx CIWS added after commissioning)
  15. RL32109, Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress. Congressional Research Service, October 22, 2008.
  16. Contractors Agree on Deal to Build Stealth Destroyer. Navy Times, 8 April 2009.

Further reading

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