Arleigh Burke Class (Aegis) Destroyer, United States of America

Arleigh Burke Class Aegis destroyer

The first Arleigh Burke Class Aegis destroyer was commissioned in 1991. Contracts for the destroyers were split between the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (formerly Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding) (28 ships), based in Pascagoula, Mississippi and the General Dynamics subsidiary, Bath Iron Works, based in Maine (34 ships). The first 21 ships (DDG51-DDG71) are categorised as Flight I and the next seven (DDG72-DDG78) as Flight II.

Arleigh Burke Class Aegis destroyers

The revised Flight IIA ships entered production in late 1997. 34 have been commissioned and are in active service:

  • USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) - commissioned August 2000
  • USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) - November 2000
  • USS Winston S Churchill (DDG 81) - March 2001
  • USS Lassen (DDG 82) - April 2001
  • USS Howard (DDG 83) - October 2001
  • USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) - December 2001
  • USS Shoup (DDG 86) - June 2002
  • USS McCampbell (DDG 85) - August 2002
  • USS Preble (DDG 88) - November 2002
  • USS Mason (DDG 87) - April 2003
  • USS USS Mustin (DDG 89) - July 2003
  • USS Chafee (DDG 90) - October 2003
  • USS Pinkney (DDG 91) - May 2004
  • USS Momsen (DDG 92) - August 2004
  • USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) - September 2004
  • USS James E Williams (DDG 95) - December 2004
  • USS Nitze (DDG 94) - March 2005
  • USS Halsey (DDG 97) - July 2005
  • USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) - November 2005
  • USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) - January 2006
  • USS Farragut (DDG 99) - June 2006
  • USS Gridley (DDG 101) - January 2007
  • USS Sampson (DDG 102) - March 2007
  • USS Kidd (DDG 100) - June 2007
  • USS Sterett (DDG 104) - June 2008
  • USS Truxtun (DDG 103) - April 2009
  • USS Stockdale (DDG 106) - April 2009
  • USS Dewey (DDG 105) - March 2010
  • USS Gravely (DDG 107) - November 2010
  • USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108) - October 2009
  • USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) - November 2010
  • USS William P Lawrence (DDG 110) - June 2011
  • USS Spruance (DDG 111) - October 2011
  • USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) - October 2012

CContracted vessels not yet in service include John Finn (DDG 113); Ralph Johnson (DDG 114); Rafael Peralta (DDG 115); Thomas Hudner (DDG 116); Paul Ignatius (DDG 117); Daniel Inouye (DDG 118); Delbert D. Black (DDG 119); (DDG 120); (DDG 121) and (DDG 122).

"Arleigh Burke is the first US Navy class to be fitted out with anti-NBC warfare protection."

Michael Murphy (DDG 112) was to be the last of the 62 Arleigh Burke destroyers but, following the proposed cancellation of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer programme after the completion of the first three vessels, the US Navy will continue construction on the Arleigh Burke Class.

Improvements over the previous flights include hangars for two SH-60B / F LAMPS helicopters, new combat systems software, an enlarged flight deck, the Evolved SeaSparrow missile, the Kingfisher mine detection sonar, Kollmorgen optronic sight and upgrade of the Aegis radar system.

Timken secured a contract from the US Department of Defense to supply Philadelphia Gear main reduction gears (MRGs) for the next generation of Arleigh Burke DDG 51 class ships in February 2016.

Arleigh Burke destroyer design

The entire ship (except the two aluminium funnels) is constructed from steel, with vital areas protected by two layers of steel and 70t of Kevlar armour.

There is a platform for rearming and refuelling a LAMPS III SH-60B / F helicopter (with ASW capabilities), but no hangars, the ship is unable to house a helicopter of its own. This is the first US Navy class to be fitted out with anti-NBC warfare protection.

Aegis combat system

The Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are equipped with the Aegis combat system which integrates the ship's sensors and weapons systems to engage anti-ship missile threats.

The Aegis system has a federated architecture with four subsystems, namely an AN / SPY-1 multifunction radar, a command and decision system (CDS), an Aegis display system (ADS) and the weapon control system (WCS). The CDS receives data from ship and external sensors via satellite communications and provides command, control and threat assessment. The WCS receives engagement instruction from the CDS, selects weapons and interfaces with the weapon fire control systems.

The latest Aegis upgrade, baseline 7.1, was certified by the USN in September 2005 on-board USS Pinkney (DDG 91). The upgrade includes a new radar, AN / SPY-1D (V), which has enhanced electronic countermeasures and more effective capability in littoral environments. Baseline 7.1 is based on COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) computer architecture. Trials of the upgrade in March 2003 included live firings of the ESSM.

Lockheed Martin is developing the Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability for the Aegis combat system to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile. 15 Arleigh Burke destroyers have been fitted with the Aegis BMD system, which provides the capability for long-range surveillance, tracking and engagement of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles.

"The destroyers are powered by four GE LM 2500 gas turbines."

The system received US Navy certification for full deployment in September 2006. Work was completed on the 15 destroyers at the end of 2008 and the vessels, with three Ticonderoga cruisers, form the Aegis BMD fleet. On 30 July 2009, the Aegis BMD system was successfully tested by the US Navy on the USS Hopper (DDG 70).

Aegis BMD is the main sea-based component of the US ballistic missile defence system.

The weapons control systems include a SWG-1A for Harpoon, SWG-3 forTomahawk, mk99 mod 3 missile fire control system, GWS34 mod 0 gun fire control system, and mk116 mod 7 fire control system for anti-submarine systems.


The ships are armed with 56 Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles, with a combination of land-attack (TLAM) missiles with a Tercom aided navigation system, and anti-ship missiles with inertial guidance. The Standard SM-2MR block 4 surface-to-air missiles with command / inertial guidance remain at the centre of the Aegis system. Both Tomahawk and Standard missiles are fired from two Lockheed Martin mk41 vertical launch systems.

The first test of the weapon control system for the new Tactical Tomahawk (block IV) took place on USS Stethem (DDG 63) in October 2002. Full-rate production deliveries of the missile began in May 2004 and it entered service with the US Navy in September 2004. The new missile has the capability for mission planning onboard the launch vessel, in-flight targeting and loitering.

In December 2004, Raytheon began deliveries of the latest version of the Standard Missile, the SM-3. Based on hit-to-kill technology, the SM-3 has a kinetic warhead and is designed for deployment against short-range to medium-range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 block 1B missile, under development, also incorporates a two-colour infrared seeker and a throttling divert and attitude control system.

There are also eight Boeing Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles and Lockheed Martin ASROC vertical launch anti-submarine systems, armed with the mk50 or mk46 torpedo. ASROC is launched from the mk41 VLS.

Arleigh Burke vessels are fitted with the evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM), developed by Raytheon. ESSM is an advanced ship self-defence missile for use against anti-ship missiles.

"Vital areas are protected by two layers of steel and 70t of Kevlar armour."

In July 2002, the first ESSM sea launch was carried out by Flight IIA vessel, USS Shoup. The missile was launched from the mk41 VLS and the Aegis AN / SPY-1D radar successfully guided the missile to destroy the target. ESSM passed US Navy operational testing and evaluation (OPEVAL) in September 2003 and entered full rate production in March 2004. USS Chaffee and McCampbell have been equipped with the new missiles.

There is one BAE Systems Land & Armaments (formerly United Defense) 127mm mk45 gun with Kollmorgen mk46 mod 1 electro-optic sight and two Raytheon / General Dynamics 20mm, six-barrelled Phalanx mk15 close-in weapon systems (CIWS). Phalanx block 1B has been installed on USS Howard, Bulkeley and Cole and is being installed on new build vessels.

The Phalanx 1B upgrade includes a Thales Optronics HDTI5-2F thermal imager, improved Ku-band radar and longer gun barrel providing an increased rate of fire of 4,500rpm. Flight IIA vessel USS Winston Churchill is the first ship to be fitted with the US Navy's most advanced gun, the mk45 mod 4, which can fire extended-range guided munitions (ERGM) to a range of nearly 60 miles. The Raytheon 127mm ERGM procurement was cancelled in July 2008.

The destroyers are fitted with six (two triple) 324mm mk32 mod 14 torpedo tubes, which launch ATK (AlliantTechsystems) mk46 or mk50 active / passive homing anti-submarine torpedoes.


The ship's electronic countermeasures / support measures system is the Raytheon AN/SLQ-32(V)3 which performs radar warning and jamming.

Decoys include two Lockheed Martin Sippican SRBOC six-barrelled launchers for chaff and infrared flares and the AN / SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo decoy system from Argon ST (formerly Sensytech) of Newington, Virginia.

Argon was awarded a contract for the upgrade of the Nixie system (SLQ-25C) in November 2006 and further upgrade (SLQ-25D) in February 2008. The upgrades include open architecture software and a new lightweight winch.

Arleigh Burke vessels, along with USN cruisers and LPDs, are being fitted with the BAE Systems Australia mk53 Nulka active missile decoy system. Nulka is a hovering rocket system, which seduces incoming missiles away from the ship.

Nulka was developed by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Canberra and Lockheed Martin Sippican in Massachusetts. In November 2008, USS Higgins (DDG 76) became the 100th USN vessel to be fitted with Nulka, with 33 more planned.


The air search and fire control radar for the Aegis system is the Lockheed Martin AN / SPY-ID 3D phased array radar, operating at E / F band. Surface search radar is a DRS Technologies AN/SPS-67(V)3 C-band (5.4-5.8GHz) radar. There is also: Raytheon SPS-64(V)9 I-band navigation radar and three Raytheon AN / SPG-62, I / J-band radars for fire control.

"The ships are armed with 56 Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles."

The sonar suite is the Lockheed Martin SQQ-89(V)6, which includes Edo Corporation AN / SQS-53C bow-mounted active search and attack sonar and the AN / SQR-19B passive towed array.

The suite has been upgraded to SQQ-89(V)15 on over 100 Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) destroyers to allow deployment of the Lockheed Martin AN / WLD-1 remote mine-hunting system.

USS Momsen (DDG 92) was the first vessel to be fitted with the AN / WLD-1 RMS which will feature on all subsequent vessels. AN / WLD-1 includes a remote mine-hunting vehicle (RMV) that tows the AN/AQS-20A variable depth sonar (VDS).


The destroyers are powered by four GE LM 2500 gas turbines, each rated at 33,600hp with a power turbine speed of 3,600rpm, driving two shafts, with controllable pitch propellers.