By Capt. Mark Vandroff
DDG 51 program officer
Program Executive Office, Ships
It’s been an exciting year for the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) program.
The Navy delivered USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), continued construction on the next four ships of the class, awarded of a multiyear procurement contract for up to 10 additional DDG 51s, and continued planning and preliminary design for incorporation of the new air and missile defense radar on a future flight of DDG.
With 62 DDG 51s in commission, the four “restart” DDGs in construction build on the program’s legacy of success – providing outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics while considering procurement and lifecycle support costs.
At Bath Iron Works, the first DDG 115 “ultra unit” — a large portion of the ship, comprising the spaces between Auxiliary Machinery Space 1 through the 01 level — was erected. It is currently being outfitted.
In June, the Navy awarded the multiyear procurement contract for up to 10 additional DDG 51s, to be procured between 2013 and 2017. By utilizing a multiyear procurement strategy, the Navy was able to leverage competition, fixed-price contracting and stability to garner an excess of $1.5 billion in savings.
As these ships are commissioned, they will continue to serve as the fleet’s workhorse as they improve on or retain all the warfighting capability of previous Arleigh Burke destroyers, including advances in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare. Capabilities will be further augmented by the introduction of the air and missile defense radar on the final three ships of being procured under that contract. These ships, designated as Flight III, will significantly enhance radar performance and provide superior capabilities to our forces operating forward for the next 40 years.
Flight III is planned for introduction in fiscal year 2016. They will outfitted with the highly sensitive missile defense radar S-band and SPQ-9B X-band radars, and their design will provide for more electrical power and cooling capacity.
In 2014, the Navy will see the keels laid for DDGs 114 and 115, the future USS Ralph Johnson and USS Rafael Peralta, respectively. By this time next year, DDGs 113 and 115 will be in the water and undergoing test and activation. Soon, the Navy will see these ships join the 62 existing DDG 51s operating forward and providing superior capability to our Navy’s surface force.
The Navy is relying on a stable and mature infrastructure while increasing the ship’s air and missile defense capabilities through spiral upgrades to the weapons and sensor suites. These ships continue to be delivered at the highest quality while serial production has reduced costs and increased capabilities.
Editor’s note: Capt. Vandroff will be speaking about the DDG 51 class upgrades at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Crystal City, Va., Jan. 15 at 10:30 a.m. The presentation will take place at the NAVSEA booth (#1024); no RSVP is necessary.
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