Guided missile destroyers are multi-mission Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) surface combatants with an AEGIS system designed to counter all current and projected missile threats to the Navy’s battle forces. Capable of operating independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups, its highly advanced weaponry and armament systems have greatly expanded the role of the ship in strike warfare utilizing the MK-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). Recent technological advances have improved the capability of modern destroyers, which culminated with the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class replacing the older Charles F. Adams and Farragut class guided missile destroyers.
The Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers was designed as a gas turbine-powered replacement for the Coontz class missile destroyers and the Leahy- and Belknap- classes of missile cruisers. The Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) was the first large U.S. Navy vessel designed to incorporate stealth shaping techniques to reduce radar cross-section. Originally tasked with defending against Soviet aircraft, missiles and submarines, this potent destroyer is now used in high-threat areas to conduct anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface, and strike operations. It was the first U.S. warship class to be fully equipped to operate in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) environments, with the crew confined to a protected citadel located within the hull and superstructure.
Improved Arleigh Burke class vessels are sometimes referred as the Oscar Austin class after the USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79), the first ship of the Flight IIA subclass of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It’s worth mentioning that the Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers is currently the only destroyer class in the U.S. Navy, underscoring its extraordinary capabilities and responsibilities. All in all, it’s an amazing vessel.