The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) is the first in the Arleigh Burke-class of guided missile destroyers, systems that offer up a multi-pronged offensive and defensive approach in her destroyer role. The ship is classified as a "multi-purpose" destroyer, allowing her to be called up for a variety of mission types that include offensive strike operations, anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-aircraft warfare roles. The vessel was designed in the early 1980's and took under consideration much of what was learned by British naval forces in the Falklands War against Argentina and was highly-tailored to suit Cold War threats and tactics for the Americans.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers maintain a distinct profile and sports a single aluminum mast atop her superstructure. She is noted in US Navy history for being the first warship of size to incorporate any semblance of stealth characteristics and does this through specialized shaping consistent with the stealth technology of the time. A special-engineered steel hull provides better operation in most rough seas than previous hulls and her armor consists of Kevlar-protected areas of critical operating posts throughout the ship. Another interesting note of the Arleigh Burke design is that she is a vessel capable of operating in dangerous areas contaminated by radiological, biological and chemical weapons thanks to her Collective Protection System.
While undergoing a variety of deployments, the USS Arleigh Burke has more recently seen extensive action in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom utilizing her Tomahawk cruise missile launchers to strike at targets inland while previously having served in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. More recently, the USS Arleigh Burke has been called upon to quell piracy operations now active off the coast of Somalia. In her time abroad, the vessel and her crews have been the recipient of no fewer than 15 honors in the form of ribbons, medals and commendations.
The USS Arleigh Burke was ordered in 1985 and not laid down until 1988. She was launched the following year and officially commissioned in 1991. The vessel makes her home port out of Norfolk, Virginia and fights under the motto of "Fast and Feared". As of this writing, she is in active service. The USS Arleigh Burke is named after former United States Navy Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke.
The Arleigh Burke-class family of ships is broken down into three distinct groupings known as Flight I (DDG-51 through DDG-71), Flight II (DDG 72 through DDG 78) and Flight IIIA (DDG 79 through DDG 112). Flight IIIA can be further broken down into three sub-groups from DDG-79 through DDG 80, DDG 81 through DDG 84 and DDG 85 through DDG 112 for various minor differences. Construction of the USS Arleigh Burke was handled by Bath Iron Works within Flight I.
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
505 ft (153.92 m)
66 ft (20.12 m)
30 ft (9.14 m)
30 kts (35 mph)
4,401 nm (5,065 miles; 8,151 km)
1 x 29-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (for RIM-66 SM-2, BGM-109 "Tomahawk" OR RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles).
1 x 61-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (for RIM-66 SM-2, BGM-109 "Tomahawk" OR RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles).
1 x 5" Mark 45 turreted deck gun
2 x 25mm Bushmaster chainguns
2 x Mark 32 triple-torpedo tubes
2 x 20mm Phalanx CIWSs (Close-In Weapon Systems).
4 x 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) heavy machine guns.
1 OR 2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III medium lift helicopter(s).