The US Navy has confirmed that its lead Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), has received approval for undergoing service life extension programme.

Approval for this five-year long life extension effort was granted by OPNAV N96, the Surface Warfare Directorate.

The decision comes almost a year after the US Navy initiated the efforts in early 2022 to extend the ship’s initial service life period.

Currently, USS Arleigh Burke is forward deployed in the US Sixth Fleet area of operations and is carrying out its third patrol. The vessel joined this deployment in 2021.

The lead warship of its class is scheduled for retirement in the fiscal year (FY) 2026, which also marks 35 years of its service with the US Navy.

This extension programme will further extend the USS Arleigh Burke’s service life until FY31.

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Naval Surface Force Atlantic commander rear admiral Brendan McLane said: “DDG 51’s are the best warships in history. They demonstrate that there are no limits to what we can accomplish with a strong American Navy-industrial partnership.

“Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of Navy’s surface fleet and critical to the nation and the Navy today and long into future.”

McLane said that the new move has also represents the success of DDG 51-class or Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer programme.

The US Navy is currently running a DDG modernisation effort to provide mid-life upgrade for this class of destroyers.

So far, around 37 vessels have already been modernised or are in progress to complete the upgrade works, while another 17 ships are expected to receive upgrades under the ‘Future Years Defence Programme’.

It will ensure that DDG 51-class features the latest long-range fires and defence capabilities.