The first Flight III Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer was underway for the first-time last week for builder’s trials in the Gulf of Mexico, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Monday.
Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) left Ingalls Shipbuilding on Dec. 12 for three days of sea trials before returning to the Mississippi shipyard on Thursday, according to NAVSEA.
“We are all very happy with how DDG-125 performed and we look forward to delivering this highly advanced ship to the Navy,” Ingalls Shipbuilding president Kari Wilkinson said in a statement to USNI News.
The 10,000-ton destroyer is the first to field the active electronically scanned array AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar that has stretched the weight and space limits of the Arleigh Burke design. Other design changes include replacing three Rolls Royce 3-megawatt generators on the Flight IIA ships with Rolls Royce’s 4-megawatt generators and adding a 4,160-volt power grid to drive the SPY-6.
“As the first Flight III ship, DDG-125 is the culmination of years of dedication and perseverance to design, build and integrate the Flight III capability of [Aegis Combat System Baseline 10], [SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar] and the supporting systems such as the new electric plant and associated upgrade to the machinery control system,” Capt. Seth Miller, the DDG 51 class program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships, said in a Thursday statement.
Lucas’ keel was laid in Oct. 7, 2019, and the ship launched on June 4, 2021, according to the Naval Vessel Register. The ship is expected to commission next year. Lucas is the last ship in a 2013 10-hull multi-year destroyer deal the Navy crafted between HII and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
The Flight III will replace the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers in the air defense role in the carrier strike group, as the legacy warships begin to leave the service. Unlike the previous Burke’s, the Flight IIIs will be an O-6 command.
The last Flight IIA to be built at Ingalls, Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), delivered to the Navy on Nov. 4.
Ingalls has four other Flight III destroyers under construction – Ted Stevens (DDG-128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG-129), George M. Neal (DDG-131) and Sam Nunn (DDG-133).