HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding has announced the launch of USS Ted Stevens (DDG 128), a flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (DDG 51) is a multi-mission, guided missile warship, originally commissioned in 1991. The ship conducts anti-air warfare with an Aegis combat system and surface-to-air missiles; tactical land strikes with its Tomahawk missiles; and anti-submarine warfare with Harpoon missiles.

DDG 128 is the latest destroyer inducted into the US Navy. This follows the navy’s recent multi-year delivery of nine other Arleigh Burke ships under a previous contract, being constructed by HII and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW), announced at the beginning of August.

Ted Stevens is the 76th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and its name honours former US senator Ted Stevens, who served as a World War II pilot and later as a senator representing Alaska. The vessel will be christened in 19 August, while Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), George M. Neal (DDG 131) and Sam Nunn (DDG 133) are also under construction at Ingalls.

Prior to launch, DDG 128 was translated from land to the dry dock using translation railcars to support the ship. Once in the dry dock the ship is prepared to launch.

Destroyer delivery programme for the next decade

There are currently six destroyers in production at BIW: John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), as well as the Flight III ships Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132).

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The US Department of Defense (DoD) gave the other contract to HII for the supply of six vessels – one in 2023, one in 2024, two in 2025, one in 2026 and another in 2027.

Likewise, the navy is pursuing the modernisation and sustainment of four existing flight IA DDG 51s. The approval to extend the life of the navy’s destroyers comes down to maintaining a greater force structure.

“It’s right to say that the US is contemplating force size – and maintaining a larger fleet of Arleigh Burke ships is part of the answer,” affirmed GlobalData Aerospace and Defence Analyst, James Marques.