HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division moved into the construction phase of the newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Thad Cochran (DDG 135) as the first 100 tons of steel were cut.

Embarking on the fabrication journey on November 13, 2023, HII Ingalls Shipbuilding signals its commitment to advancing the US Navy’s surface fleet capabilities. Thad Cochran (DDG 135) represents the latest in Flight III destroyers, a category known for its multi-mission capabilities, capable of managing operations ranging from crisis management to power projection. 

The Flight III destroyers are distinguished by design modifications, featuring AN/SPY-6(V)1 air and missile defence radar (AMDR) and the Aegis baseline ten combat system to ensure operational readiness into the 21st century.

The destroyers can operate independently or as part of a carrier strike group, providing anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare capabilities, according to GlobalData’s “US Defense Market 2022-2027” report.

Ben Barnett, Ingalls Shipbuilding DDG programme manager, expressed pride in the shipbuilders, “Our shipbuilders are proud to begin construction on the newest Flight III destroyer. We will continue to work with our Navy and industry partners to provide our military with the most capable and survivable ships.”

According to GlobalData’s intelligence on the global naval vessels and surface combatants market, the destroyer segment is valued at $9.5 billion in 2023 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% over the forecast period to reach $14.3 billion by 2033. North America is expected to account for the largest share of the total destroyer segment at 46.7%.

Thad Cochran joins the lineup of Flight III destroyers, including recent additions like Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), marking a strategic shift in naval capabilities.