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Delivery of USS Daniel Inouye to Navy expected in weeks

The future USS Daniel Inouye (SUPSHIP Bath/Naval Sea Systems Command)

The new destroyer USS Daniel Inouye sailed through acceptance trails Feb. 4 off the coast of Maine, with delivery to the fleet expected in coming weeks, the Navy said.

The long-delayed guided-missile destroyer, named after one of the most influential politicians in Hawaii history, is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned at Pearl Harbor in the fall with a big pier-side ceremony attended by thousands—if COVID-19 is under control.

The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey checked the ship during a series of demonstrations while pier-side and underway. Many of the destroyer’s onboard systems—including navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communications and propulsion applications—were tested to validate performance and met or exceeded specifications, the Navy said.

Designated DDG 118, the Daniel Inouye “performed superbly during the ship’s acceptance trial, ” Capt. Seth Miller, with Program Executive Office Ships, said in a release. “The Navy and industry team are ready to deliver a highly capable multi-mission warship to the fleet within the next few weeks.”

Delivery marks the official transfer of custody of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy. The Navy said the schedule is still being determined for the warship to sail to its home port in Pearl Harbor.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works started fabrication on the destroyer in late 2014. Its delivery was pushed back from December 2018 to April 2020 and now into 2021 due in part to the complexity of working on Arleigh Burke-class ships such as the USS Daniel Ino-uye and another type of destroyer known as the Zumwalt class.

The builder also experienced labor issues.

The last big Navy ship commissioning in Hawaii was in 2017, when more than 2, 000 people were at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo 10 pier to honor Dec. 7, 1941, hero John Finn and the $2 billion San Diego-based destroyer named for him.

Like Finn, Inouye was a war hero and Medal of Honor recipient. But Inouye, who served 53 years in the U.S. House and Senate, became one of the most influential people in modern Hawaii history.

The Navy said the Daniel Inouye is a Flight IIA destroyer, equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes integrated air and missile defense capability and enhanced ballistic missile defense capabilities.

“This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability against a variety of threats, ” the Navy said.

The Navy said the destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen Jr., under construction by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding, also will be based at Pearl Harbor.

Petersen became the first African American Marine Corps aviator in 1952 and the first African American Marine Corps general officer in 1979. He served during the Korean and Vietnam wars and flew more than 350 combat missions.

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