First Flight III Destroyer Jack H. Lucas Completes Acceptance Trials, Delivery Imminent

May 19, 2023 6:35 PM
Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) underway in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2023. HII Photo

The first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer completed its final acceptance trails ahead of delivery and commissioning into the service later this year, Naval Sea Systems Command said on Friday.

Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) returned to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., on Thursday after several days of trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Now cleared to enter service, the destroyer is expected to deliver in the next several days, two defense officials told USNI News.

“During acceptance trials, the ship and its crew performed a series of demonstrations for review by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey,” reads the statement from NAVSEA.
“INSURV uses these demonstrations to validate Navy specifications and requirements prior to delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy.”

Since December, Jack Lucas has been undergoing a series of builder’s trials and tests of its new radar system. The destroyer is the first Navy ship to field Raytheon’s new electronically scanned array AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar and has undergone hull changes to accommodate the new radar and an updated version of the Aegis Combat System.

“Our extended network of Navy, Ingalls and supplier partners got this done through open communication, hard work and tenacity,” Ingalls president Kari Wilkinson said in a statement.

The 10,000-ton destroyer will replace the aging Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers as the air defense platform in the carrier strike group. An O-6 will command the Flight IIIs, rather than an O-5 like the legacy Arleigh Burkes.

Ingalls laid the keel for Lucas on Oct. 7, 2019 and launched the destroyer on June 4, 2021. The ship was the last destroyer in a 2013 multi-ship buy.

The last Flight IIA built at Ingalls, USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), was commissioned on May 13.

The Gulf Coast yard is also building Flight III destroyers Ted Stevens (DDG-128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG-129) and George M. Neal (DDG-131).

On Tuesday, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works laid the keel for its first Flight III ship, Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG-126).

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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