Description: The DDG 51 class destroyers have been designed to support carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups. They perform primarily Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) with secondary land attack, Anti-Submarine (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) capabilities. The Mk 41 vertical launch system has expanded the role of the destroyer in strike warfare, as well as their overall performance.
The DDG 51 class destroyers, as well as their European counterparts such as Horizon, F100, F124, Type 45 and De Zeven Provincien, are the most powerful surface combatants ever put to sea. The DDG 51 class destroyers incorporate all-steel construction and utilize gas turbine propulsion. They feature the AEGIS (Mk 7) weapon system with the AN/SPY-1D radar system (SPY-1D(V) in late production models), the AN/SQQ-89 undersea warfare system, the bow-mounted AN/SQS-53C sonar, and Mk 41 vertical launch systems for up to 96 Standard missiles and other missile types.
For enhanced survivability the DDG 51 class destroyers feature extensive armor located around vital combat systems and machinery spaces. Infrared, Acoustic, and Radar Cross Sections signatures have been reduced and the ship has been hardened against Electro-Magnetic Pulse and over-pressure damage. Protection against Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) agents has also been provided.
The first DDG 51 class destroyer was deployed by the US Navy in 1991. They replaced Charles F. Adams and Farragut-class destroyers and will replace partially current Spruance and Perry-class ships by 2010. They have been deployed during military operations over the former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq assuming the land-attack role using Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The US Navy plans to procure up to 63 DDG-51 class destroyers through 2010. However, these plans could change depending on DD(X) destroyers availability. The DDG 51 will become the backbone of the American Surface combatants fleet well into the 21st century. As of early 2011, the US Navy plans call for the procurement of 75 DDG 51 class destroyers.
The DDG 51 Flight III is a further version of the Burke-class destroyer equipped with the US Navy's Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) optimized for engagements against advanced anti-ship missiles and ballistic missiles. The AMDR is a dual band sensor that is scheduled for deployment between 2015 and 2017 remaining in service for more than 30 years beyond 2050. The US Navy plans to procure a large number of Flight III destroyers beginning in 2022 with the aim to replace the Flight I and Flight II ships by 2035.
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