At the beginning of the 21st century, destroyers are the heaviest surface combatant ships in general use, with only three nations (the United States, Russia, and Peru) operating the heavier class cruisers and none operating battleships or true battlecruisers. Modern destroyers, also known as guided missile destroyers, are equivalent in tonnage but vastly superior in firepower to cruisers of the World War II era, capable of carrying nuclear missiles. Guided missile destroyers such as the Arleigh Burke class are actually larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers, due to their massive size at 510 feet (160 m) long and displacing 9200 tons and armed with over 90 missiles.
Guided Missile Destroyers: Guided missile destroyers are multi-mission [Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)] surface combatants. The destroyer’s armament has greatly expanded the role of the ship in strike warfare utilizing the MK-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). Features unique to DDG 1000:
- Eighty peripheral vertical launch system (VLS) cells, two Advanced Gun System (AGS) 155 millimeter (mm) guns, and two 57mm Close In Guns (CIGS).
- A stern boat ramp for two 7 meter (m) Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), designed with room for two 11m RHIBs.
- Aviation capacity for two MH-60R or one MH-60R and 3 VT Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
- It will be powered by an Integrated Power System with an Integrated Fight Through Power (IFTP). This is created by an Advanced Induction Motor (AIM).
- A Composite superstructure with integrated apertures and low signature profile.
- Advanced sensors including a SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar.
- A wave-piercing “Tumblehome” hull form.
USS Spruance: USS Spruance (DDG-111) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer currently in service with the United States Navy. She is the 61st ship in her class. Spruance is the second United States Navy ship (the first being the USS Spruance (DD-963) to be named for Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (1886–1969), who commanded American naval forces at the Battles of Midway and the Philippine Sea. He was later Ambassador to the Philippines.
Spruance’s keel was laid down on 14 May 2009. She was christened by the admiral’s granddaughter, Ellen Spruance Holscher, on 5 June 2010 in Bath, Maine at Bath Iron Works, where the ship was built. The completed ship left Bath on 1 September 2011 for her commissioning in Key West, Florida before traveling to her home port of San Diego. The Spruance is the first of the US Navy’s destroyers to be fitted with the Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS), manufactured by the Boeing Company. GEDMS provides an Internet Protocol (IP) based backbone for video and data services on the ship.
USS William P. Lawrence: USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. She is the 60th ship in her class. The ship is named for Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence (1930–2005), a Naval Aviator, fighter pilot, test pilot, Mercury astronaut finalist, Vietnam War Prisoner of War, a U.S. Third Fleet commander, a Chief of Naval Personnel, and a Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. William P. Lawrence’s keel was laid down on 16 September 2008, at the Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Lawrence was launched on 15 December 2009, and was christened on 17 April 2010, sponsored by VADM Lawrence’s widow, Diane Lawrence, and his daughters, Dr. Laurie Lawrence and CAPT Wendy Lawrence (USN Ret, and former shuttle astronaut). Lawrence’s plankowning captain is CDR Thomas R. Williams, II. The ship was commissioned at the Port of Mobile, Alabama on 4 June 2011.
USS Jason Dunham: USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named after Corporal Jason L. Dunham USMC, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq. Jason Dunham is the 59th destroyer in her class and built by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. She was christened by Corporal Dunham’s mother, Debra Dunham, and launched on August 1, 2009. Jason Dunham was commissioned on 13 November 2010 with Commander M. Scott Sciretta in command.
The USS Wayne E. Meyer: The USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named after Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer, who is known as the Father of Aegis. The ship is part of Destroyer Squadron Twenty-one (DESRON-21) of Carrier Strike Group Three which is currently headed by the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).
Wayne E. Meyer is the 58th destroyer in her class. She carries the 100th AEGIS Weapon System to be delivered to the United States Navy. She was built by Bath Iron Works, and was christened by sponsor Anna Mae Meyer (wife of Admiral Meyer) and launched on 18 October 2008. Wayne E. Meyer completed sea trials in June 2009 and was delivered to the Navy in July 2009. She was Commissioned and placed into active service on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2009. Wayne E. Meyer arrived at her homeport in San Diego, CA on 4 December 2009.
HMS York: HMS York (D98) is a Batch III Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy. Launched on 20 June 1982 at Wallsend, Tyne and Wear and sponsored by Lady Gosling, HMS York was the last Type 42 built. The ship’s crest is the White Rose of York, and the “red cross with lions passant” funnel badge is derived from the coat of arms of the City of York. With a maximum speed of 34 knots, she is the Royal Navy’s fastest destroyer.
HMS Gloucester: HMS Gloucester (D96) was a Batch 3 Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy. The ship was built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston, Southampton and launched on 2 November 1982 by The Duchess of Gloucester. HMS Gloucester was one of the modified last four of the class to be built, having a lengthened hull design giving better seakeeping qualities and greater endurance. The flight deck recognition letters worn by HMS Gloucester were GC, and her international callsign was GBBF.
HMS Edinburgh: HMS Edinburgh (D97) is a Type 42 (Batch 3) destroyer of the Royal Navy. Edinburgh was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead. She was launched on 14 April 1983 and commissioned on the 17 December 1985. The largest of the Type 42 destroyers, HMS Edinburgh is known as the “Fortress of the Sea”.
HMS Liverpool: HMS Liverpool (D92) is a Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead and launched on 25 September 1980 by Lady Strathcona, wife of Euan Howard, the then Minister of State for Defence. Liverpool is the last Batch 2 Type 42 in service.
JS Ashigara: JS Ashigara (DDG-178) is an Atago class guided missile destroyer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Ashigara was named for Mount Ashigara, and is the first Japanese ship to bear the prefix JS (Japanese Ship) instead of JDS (Japanese Defense Ship). She was laid down by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Nagasaki on April 6, 2005, launched on August 30, 2006; and was commissioned on 13 March 2008.
JDS Atago: JDS Atago DDG-177 is an Atago class guided missile destroyer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Atago was named for Mount Atago. She was laid down by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Nagasaki on April 5, 2004, launched on August 24, 2005; and commissioned on March 15, 2007.
JDS Chōkai: JDS Chōkai (DDG-176) is a Kongō class guided missile destroyer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Chōkai was named for Mount Chōkai. She was laid down by IHI Corporation in Tokyo on May 29, 1995, launched on August 27, 1996; and commissioned on March 20, 1998.
Durand de la Penne: The Durand de la Penne class destroyers are two guided missile destroyers operated by the Marina Militare, the Italian navy. The design is an updated version of the Audace class destroyers but these ships are larger, have CODOG machinery and modern sensors. Initially four ships were planned but the second pair was cancelled as Italy had decided to join the Horizon project.
Latouche-Tréville: Latouche-Tréville is a F70 type anti-submarine frigate of the French Marine Nationale. She is the third French vessel named after the 18-19th century politician and admiral Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville.
Note: The French navy does not use the term “destroyer” for its ships. Thus, some large ships, referred to as “frigates”, are registered as destroyers.
Jean Bart: The Jean Bart (D615) is an anti-air frigate of the French Marine Nationale of the Cassard type. She is the eighth vessel of the French Navy named after the privateer Jean Bart. She was commissioned on 3 March 1991. The Jean Bart was fitted with a number of prototype equipments which were later incorporated in the La Fayette type frigates. On 12 April 2008, Jean Bart was used to capture the pirates of Le Ponant. She took part in Operation Unified Protector until she returned to her home port Toulon in April 2011.