Home » Budget Industry » Arleigh Burke Guided-Missile Destroyer Program Marks Key Milestones

Arleigh Burke Guided-Missile Destroyer Program Marks Key Milestones

Artists rendering of the first planned Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer, Jack H. Lucas. HII Photo

Artists rendering of the first planned Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer, Jack H. Lucas. HII Photo

May marked a pair of milestones in the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer program, including the start of fabrication of the first Flight III ship, according to Naval Sea Systems Command.

Steel was cut on the future Jack Lucas (DDG-125) at Huntington Ingalls Industries earlier this month, just after the Navy and the shipbuilders completed the final functional design of the Flight III ship.

The ship is named after Marine Jack Lucas, who earned a Medal of Honor for actions in the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

The Flight III hull is designed around the under-development AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) that will replace the AN/SPY-1D(V). The Raytheon-built SPY-6 promises a radar that would be up to 30 times more sensitive than the legacy SPY-1 radars but also demands more power. The additional requirements to accommodate the SPY-6 prompted a redesign of the DDG’s hull.

Harvey Barnum, Jr. in 2007 and then-PFC Jack Lucas, USMC

HII was awarded the contract for the first Flight III after more than a year of negotiations between General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and HII last year.

Despite the length of the negotiations, the fabrication date lined up with the planned schedule for construction outlined in December by NAVSEA.

At Bath, the yard began construction on the future Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124). Barnum will be among the last Flight IIA configurations of the Burke.

The ship is named for retired Marine Col. Harvey C. Barnum Jr., who as a first lieutenant was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in 1965 during the Vietnam War.

“This is an exciting time in the DDG-51 program as we celebrate the start of construction on DDG 124 and DDG 125,” Capt. Casey Moton, the DDG-51 class program manager, said in a NAVSEA statement.
“Both of these ships are named after Medal of Honor recipients and we are proud to honor their legacy with such capable warfighters.”

The following is the complete statement from Naval Sea Systems Command:

DDG 51 Program Marks Start of Construction Milestones at BIW and HII
From Team Ships Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyers continue to achieve shipbuilding milestones with start of construction at both shipbuilders, Bath Iron Works (BIW), Bath, Maine, and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi.

On May 17, construction of the future USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) began at BIW. The ship’s namesake, Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum, Jr. (ret.), was on hand to officially mark start of fabrication on the ship.

In Pascagoula, Mississippi, construction of the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) officially began on May 7. DDG 125 will be the first Arleigh Burke class destroyer built in the Flight III configuration with improved capability and capacity to perform Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in support of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) mission.

These milestones, which signify the first 100 tons of steel being cut, were marked with ceremonies held in the shipyards’ respective fabrication shops.

“This is an exciting time in the DDG 51 program as we celebrate the start of construction on DDG 124 and DDG 125,” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Both of these ships are named after Medal of Honor recipients and we are proud to honor their legacy with such capable warfighters.”

These ships are Aegis baseline 9 (DDG 124) and baseline 10 (DDG 125) IAMD destroyers with significant capabilities against modern air warfare and BMD) threats. When operational, these multi-mission surface combatants will serve as integral players in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

  • DaSaint

    Glad to see the Flight III program finally begin. Ingalls gets the nod, and will crank them out at a good pace, with BIW doing the best it can to complement them.

    Will be interesting to see if either yard wins the FFG(X) competition, and the possible impact on DDG production. I still believe a 12th NSC will be funded giving Ingalls a welcome consolation prize should they not win the FFG(X) contract. I would have no objection to a 1 for 1 replacement of the Hamilton class WHECs.

    • Bubblehead

      Who wins FFGX is only half the fun. How the USN and the winning shipyard play the shell game of building the winning design is the big question. With the complete fiasco of the LCS it is doubtful the USN would be stupid enough to award one of those shipyards the FFGX. Which would put either or both of those shipyards out of business. It would make sense for the winning FFGX design to buy out or partner with one of those shipyards to produce FFGX.

      The USN and POTUS will not allow any more shipyards to go bankrupt. Not only because it is bad for business but for National Security. But at the same time, they keep putting out worthless horrible ships.

      • Ed L

        They can be task with making accessories

      • old guy

        The Navy only seemed to award the LCS, Read data of that time about Congressional intervention. Criminal.

    • Curtis Conway

      HII is opening up the East Bank that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of it in 2005. It will be fully operational in two years. They have been using it for storage since. I remember BB-61 siting at the pier across from us in the mid 80’s.

      Winning the FFG(X) would be just about perfect timing. For the US Navy, having a common logistical train as the US Coast Guard NSCs would save considerable treasure over the next decades, and make improvements stretch farther, more efficiently. Operational & Maintenance Schools, logistical parts trains, and training on systems.

      • DaSaint

        Opening the East Bank is an interesting development. It’s certainly not necessary for current classes under construction, so…

        Some have theorized that HII may have submitted a cut-down Burke DDG, possibly with a revised superstructure, but same hull, less VLS. Could be an interesting option.

        • Kypros

          That would be interesting…..

        • Curtis Conway

          Not a Mini-Burke fan, but without a sonar dome it sure would make a great Arctic platform. It would do great in heavy weather. That platform would be perfect for a multiple DEW platform, and new Passive-Centric combat system augmenting COMBATSS-21. If a panoramic observation and tracking system like SIMONE (Ship Infrared Monitoring, Observation and Navigation Equipment) supported the Bridge and Combat, some WESCAM MX-15s (or other multi-spectral capable EO/IR devices for independent observation/tracking), then some watchstanding manning can be replaced, spare parts will have to be increased, and technicians retained to keep it all up. CANES is already on board to distribute selected parts of the video. The multi-spectral elements can assist ID functions.

        • Curtis Conway

          In the LCS case the platform was designed for a specific mission set operating in specific environments. Then the US Navy tried to sell it as the be-all end-all even though it would probably not survive if it ever engaged in the operations while steaming independently (ISE Operations), and running into capable opposition, or near a belligerent’s coast with ASCMs near by. What we need is a good survivable platform, which can steam anywhere, particularly in the Arctic, (e.g., no sonar dome), and handle any weather and sea-state it could ever reasonably run into. THAT IS NOT a planing-hull LCS design. This vessel must be able to persist for a month at least, and thwart any attack from multiple sectors, in multiple warfare areas, all SIMULTANEOUSLY.

          Up gunning the LCS platforms actually brings them up to the lethality they required just to survive in the ISE environments in which they are intended to operate, and in no way provides any capability w/r/t Blue Water Operational Capability (e.g., heavy weather). That could be a Burke Hull-form. That hull-form brings common and capable propulsion with the majority surface combatants, and power generation capability for the Directed Energy Weapons to come. If the 5” gun was retained it would provide HVP capability in the future, which brings a lot to any formation to which it is assigned.

          If we see an LCS design win the FFG(X) competition, we will KNOW the SWAMP is chasing money and/or re-election bids.

          • old guy

            From your mouth to CNO’s ear.

  • D. Jones

    How many LCS are deployed?

  • Kypros

    Why near certainty?

    • Ctrot

      Politics and nothing else. Certainly not capability.

    • Curtis Conway

      Duane’s certainty comes from the politicians bought, and the political capital purchased by saving jobs in districts. Put an LCS in a heavy sea-state for an extended period time, and you will probably lose it, and the crew. Remember, our surface combatants don’t get to control the weather, or the enemy.

      • Kypros

        One of the requirement for FFG(X) is that it must be able to take part in carrier operations. No way could anything LCS based do that.

        • Curtis Conway

          If it stayed tethered to the tanker with a fuel line it could . . . sorta.

          • Kypros

            Sure, as long as it’s not too cold or too rough. If the Navy selects an LCS based FFG, what they’re telling us is that they have no concerns regarding open sea capability, and are merely being bribed by the nearest lobbyist. In which case, they should not only be dismissed but also be indicted.

          • Duane

            Verified at 4,000 nm range … the OHPs only had 4,400 nm. Plenty for littoral ops … and unlike the deep draft escorts, the LCS can navigate into thousands more shallow water ports to refuel as necessary.

        • Duane

          LCS are designed and expected to serve as CSG ASW escorts in littoral waters, so you’re wrong there. The LCS VDS sonar sensors are superior to those on the existing CG and DDGs … the very same advanced sonar to be integrated on FFG(X). And LCS uses the same aircraft (MH-60) as the Flight II and newer DDG-51s, plus it also deploys the unmanned MQ-8 B and its longer-legged C aircraft. It also has a torpedo defense countermeasures system like the destroyers and cruisers have, and periscope detection system too.

          • Kypros

            What if a CSG is not in littoral waters? How will an LCS based FFG perform then?

      • Duane

        How many LCS have sunk in heavy seas? Or are you claiming that neither San Diego and EastPac, nor Mayport and WestLant, and the South China Sea and WestPac never experience heavy seas? Because these are the seas where our LCS have been operating for over a decade … not to mention repeated transits between San Diego and Singapore … the longest ocean transit between any pair of continents on the planet.

        • Curtis Conway

          Duane, you have to GET UNDERWAY first and put in some time at sea, before we can estimate that! Shallow water ops is not the issue anyway. You MUST be able to run with the Big Dogs in the CSG, go fast, take weather, and still be able to perform. Ask any Frigate sailor who actually deployed with the CSG and had to deal with Heavy Weather (sometimes you do). More than once we had to leave someone back to babysit/escort the Frigate in trouble, usually propulsion, and in Heavy Weather that is NEVER good. Steerage way casualty and you Could Lose the boat.

  • Duane

    We need those new SPY-6 radar sensors as fast as they can be delivered, given the proliferation of BM threats in the middle east and Indo-Pac.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    What I want to know is if Benelli shotguns come standard on the FREMM and when Italy will just shut up and take our money. I’m trying to get some FREMMs up in here, peoples!

  • Ed L

    Keep the construction line open. Build another 30 Burke’s and at least 30 FFGX that can operate with the Carrier battle groups and stay at sea is dependent on crew ability and UNREP.

  • Crom!

    So no harpoon launcher huh? Burkes are now nothing but flimsy floating sam sites.

    • Scott1945est

      So, you can’t read, eh?


      Did you miss the gun on the forecastle, also?

    • Duane

      It’s not clear if the Navy will ever mount the Mk 141 angled cannister deck launcher on the Flight IIIs. LRASM, which is far superior to the old Harpoon, already is Mk 41 VLS capable.

      The Navy is also testing out new form factors for deck launchers that are retractable … perhaps by the time the first Flight IIIs get commisioned in a few years, they will get outfitted with those.

  • Kypros

    While agree that the two foreign designs may be too much ship for the requirements, if one of the two LCS proposals wins FFG(X), that would be a travesty. Integrating required systems? They’ve been working on integrating systems on the LCS for a decade and are still years away from being fully developed. Even after all of this time, only one ship at a time has been able to be deployed. I hope the USN can find a purpose for these ships one day, so the taxpayers can get something back for their “make work” investment in these two shipyards, but to pick one of them as the new FFG would be another disaster. I’m looking forward to seeing what HII has in the works.

    • Duane

      The integration of most of the required GFE for FFG(X) is already complete on LCS, including radar sensors, combat management system (COMBATTS21), guns (Mk 110 57mm and two Mk 46 30mm), OTH missiles (Harpoon and NSM, with LRASM to follow later this year), Mk 141 angled cannister deck launcher, etc. The final integration of the ASW MM components including VDS is scheduled by the beginning of CY2019. The Mk 41 VDS is already being integrated into LM’s Saudi frigate.

      By the time the Navy evaluates the FFG(X) designs a year from now, the only competitor having integrated all of the required GFE on actual ships will be LM.

      • Curtis Conway

        “…including radar sensors, combat management system (COMBATTS21)…”. There is not a ship afloat that has a SPY-6, forget having one integrated to the COMBATSS-21. So goes the rhetoric . . .

        The Saudi Frigates will operate in the Arabian Gulf, not Blue Water. Big difference in capability. Our new frigate must be capable in the Arctic. I would like to see an LCS demonstre that out of the US Coast Guard Station Kodiak for a few months, making sure they venture into the Arctic Ocean. There will be some ice-free regions for most of the summer. Perhaps a transit to Halifax along the Northern Passage with some port calls?

  • DemocracyRules

    How was the hull modified to handle the new AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar?
    – bigger hull? fatter hull? more displacement?
    – or just a bigger engine room?

  • Kenneth Millstein

    Jack H. Lucas, thank you for service. God bless you and the acts that you performed to earn our country’s highest military honer. The Congressional Medal Of Honor!

  • gelceea

    I am just an armchair enthusiast, but I really like this platform. The development of the SPY6 radar system seems to be in response to worldwide ballistic missile proliferation. Paired with the SM6, I don’t see anything on the world stage that compares, certainly not with any level of mass production.