Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of US naval prime Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), has delivered the first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), to the US Navy, a key landmark in the ongoing development of the class.

The Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) is the first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer being built for the US Navy by Ingalls and incorporates a number of design modifications to earlier models. The Flight III configured destroyers include the AN/SPY-6(V)1 air and missile defence radar (AMDR), the Aegis Baseline 10 combat system, and upgrades to the electric power and cooling capacity.

In a 27 June release, HII stated that the company had delivered 35 destroyers to the US Navy including DDG 125, with four Flight IIIs currently under construction including the future USS Ted Stevens (DDG 128), which is scheduled to be christened in August. Additionally, Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), George M. Neal (DDG 131) and Sam Nunn (DDG 133) are under construction.

Delivery of DDG 125 represents the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy.

In May, the US Navy revealed the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) had completed acceptance trials, which saw the vessel and crew perform demonstrations for review by the service’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The demonstrations were used by INSURV to validate naval specifications and requirements prior to delivery of the ship to the US Navy.

What is the Flight III?

The Arleigh Burke-class DDG series first entered service with the US Navy in 1991, and has since been upgraded to the Flight II, Flight IIA, and now Flight III iterations.

According to the US Navy, DDGs 51-71 represent the original design and are designated as Flight I; DDGs 72-78 are Flight II ships; and DDGs 79-124 and DDG 127 are Flight IIA ships. The Flight III baseline begins with DDGs 125-126 and continues with DDG 128 and subsequent vessels.

Replacing the legacy Charles F. Adams class (DDG 2), the DDG 51 series was designed with an all-new hull form, incorporating much of the Spruance class (DD 963) propulsion and machinery plant, and the integrated Aegis Weapons System (AWS) from the Kidd-class (DD 993) destroyers and installed on the larger, and still in service, Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

The AWS is composed of a multi-function phased array radar, anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems, vertical launch missiles, and the Tomahawk cruise missile weapon system. The latest Flight III, with the AMDR, enables the class to simultaneously perform AAW and ballistic missile defence capabilities.