Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer Of United States

Arleigh Burke Class of Guided missil destroyers is a United States Navy Class of destroyer built around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-1D multi function passive electronically scanned array radar.

Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer
Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer

The Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers was designed as a gas turbine-powered replacement for the Coontz class missile destroyers and the Leahy- and Belknap- classes of missile cruisers.

   Originally intended to be a cheaper, less capable vessel than the Ticonderoga Class Cruiser, the design has evolved into an extremely capable general purpose warship, incorporating highly advanced weaponry and systems.

   Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) was the first large US Navy vessel designed to incorporate stealth shaping techniques to reduce radar cross-section. Originally tasked with defending against Soviet aircraft, missiles and submarines, this potent destroyer is now used in high-threat areas to conduct anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface, and land attack operations.

   A new hull profile significantly improves seakeeping, permitting high speeds to be maintained in difficult sea states. The hull form is characterized  by considerable flare and a ‘V’-shape appearance at the waterline.

   Built primarily from steel, the class has aluminium masts to reduce topweight. Kevlar armour is fitted over all vital machinery and operations room spaces. Surprisingly, it was the first US warship class to be fully equipped to operate in NBC environments, with the crew confined to a protected citadel located within the hull and superstructure.

Arleigh Burke Class Weapon and Radar

   The AN/SPY-1D phased array radar incorporates significant advances in the detection capabilities of the AEGIS weapons system, particularly in its resistance to enemy electronic countermeasures.

   The AEGIS system is designed to counter all current and projected missile threats to the Navy’s battle forces. A conventional, mechanically rotating radar ‘sees’ a target when the radar beam strikes that target once during each 360° rotation of the antenna. A separate tracking radar is then required to engage each target.

   By contrast, the AEGIS system brings these functions together within one system. The four fixed arrays of the SPY-1D send out beams of electromagnetic energy in all directions simultaneously, continuously providing a search and tracking capability for hundreds of targets at the same time.

The SPY-1D and the Mark 99 Fire Control System allow them to guide vertically-launched Standard missiles to intercept hostile aircraft and missiles at long ranges. For point defense the ships are equipped with the Block 1 upgrade to the Phalanx CIWS.

   This class currently consists of 62 destroyers in three versions, namely Flight I (DDG 51-71), Flight II (DDG 72-78), and Flight IIA (DDG 79 and later ships). Over time the ships were built to improved standard. One point of criticism of the original design was that no hangar was provided for a helicopter, although the first 28 vessels do have flight-decks capable of handling a Sikorsky SH-60 Helicopter.

   The improved Flight IIA vessels are sometimes referred as the Oscar Austin class. These warships have a helicopter hangar for 2 helicopters, as well as an enlarged vertical launch system, a new 127 mm dual-purpose gun and improved communications. These warships have a full load displacement of 9 648 tons and are significantly larger than original Flight I Arleigh Burke Class ships, that were commissioned in the early 1990s.

   Construction of further improved Flight III variant is planned for 2016.

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