The guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69) returned to Naval Station San Diego, Calif. on Thursday after a eight month deployment to the Middle East and the Western Pacific, the service announced.
The individual deployment included ballistic missile defense patrols, training exercises and was part of the presence mission after Iranian Republican Guard seized the M/V Maersk Tigris earlier this year.
“These destroyermen performed exceptionally well in theater, and their superior performance during this eight-and-a-half month deployment is a testament to them and the families who support us,” commanding officer Cmdr. Michael Rak
The Arleigh Burke ship is now scheduled to undergo a year and a half mid-life modernization that will upgrade the ships Aegis combat system to the new Baseline 9 standard.
The upgrade will allow the ship to simultaneously fight traditional air warfare and ballistic missile threats and gives the ship the ability to tie into the Navy’s emerging Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) concept.
Following the upgrade, Milius will deploy to Japan as part of the U.S. Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Yokosuka along with USS Benfold (DDG-65).
“These U.S. BMD-capable forces, combined with the sea-based missile defense systems operated by their counterparts in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as well as the new TPY-2 radar at Kyogamisaki scheduled to start operations later this year, provide the U.S.-Japan alliance a regionally responsive missile defense capability,” read an October Navy statement.
“They also represent a significant improvement in capability and will provide the FDNF with greater capacity in all mission areas.”
Other moves in the works include relocating Nimitz-class carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) to Japan — replacing the current FDNF carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73).