- Spruance class destroyer
The "Spruance"-class destroyer was developed by the United States to replace a large number of
World War II-built "Allen M. Sumner"- and "Gearing"-class destroyers, and was the primary destroyerbuilt for the U.S. Navy during the 1970s.
The class was designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with point defense
anti-aircraft warfare(AAW) missiles; upgrades provided anti-ship and land attack capabilities. The ships were initially controversial, especially among members of the United States Congresswho believed that their unimposing looks, with only two guns and an ASROCor Armored Box Launcher(ABL) missile launcher per ship implied that the vessels were weak. Nonetheless, they were very successful for their intended ASW roles. Despite their "DD" designation indicating gun destroyers, their primary armament was the missiles they carried, and they should properly have been designated DDG (or perhaps CG, given that they were comparable in size to cruisers) under the US Navy's hull classification symbolsystem. Ironically enough, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers are to be built around the 6.1" advanced gun system and thus properly deserving of the unmodified DD hull classification symbol.
The "Spru-cans" were the first large U.S. Navy ships to use
gas turbinepropulsion; they have four General Electric LM2500gas turbines to generate about 80,000 horsepower (60 MW). This configuration was so successful that its hull and physical plant were used for the later "Kidd"-class destroyers, and a slightly lengthened version of the hull was used for the "Ticonderoga"-class cruisers.
The entire class of 30 ships was contracted on
June 23, 1970to the Litton-Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, under the Total Package Procurementconcept originated by the Whiz Kids of Robert McNamara's Pentagon. The idea was to reap the benefits of mass construction, but labor and technical problems caused cost overruns and delayed construction.Fact|date=March 2008 One additional ship, USS "Hayler", was ordered on September 29, 1979. USS HAYLER was originally planned as a "DDH" (Destroyer, Helicopter) design, which would carry more Anti-Submarine helicopters than the standard design of the SPRUANCE class. Eventually this plan to build a DDH was scrapped and a slightly modified DD-963 class hull was put in commission. Four additional ships were built for the Iranian Navy with the Mark 26/Standard AAW missile system but were completed as "Kidd"-class destroyers for the U.S. Navy.
An air capable mini STOVL carrier based on the "Spruance" hull was seriously considered but the Navy never took delivery. [http://www.aandc.org/research/cruisers/cr_navsea.html] [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cg-47-history.htm]
The Spruance design is modular in nature, allowing for easy installation of entire subsystems within the ship. Although originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, 24 ships of this class were upgraded with the installation of a 61 cell Vertical Launch Missile System (VLS) capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The remaining seven ships not upgraded were decommissioned early. At least ten VLS ships, ie. "Cushing" and "O'Bannon", had a 21 cell
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missilelauncher mounted on the starboard fantail.
* "David R. Ray" tested the RAM system in the 1980s, but had the system removed after the tests.
* "Oldendorf" was the test platform for the "AN/SPQ-9B" Anti-ship Missile Defense (ASMD) Firecontrol Radar to be outfitted on the
San Antonio class amphibious transport dock. The AN/SPQ-9B is used to detect all known and projected sea skimming missiles.
* "Arthur W. Radford" tested the
Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensorsystem which helped in the mast design of San Antonio class amphibious transport dockships.
* "Merrill" served as the Navy's test platform for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program receiving armored box launchers and test launching a Tomahawk
March 19 1980. "Merrill" carried two ABLs and an ASROC launcher into the 1990s until the ASROC launcher was removed.
Spruance class destroyers fired 112 land attack Tomahawks during Operation Desert Storm. [ [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/dd-963.htm DD-963 SPRUANCE-class - Navy Ships ] ]
The last Spruance-class destroyer on active service, USS "Cushing", was decommissioned on
September 21, 2005. It was then offered to the Pakistan Navyunder a "free deal (any 2nd hand military equipment to be given for free to Pakistan -- The deal was awarded along with Major non-NATO allyor MNNA Status)."
The majority of the class finished their lives as targets, being deliberately sunk in various fleet exercises.
* [http://www.destroyerhistory.org/coldwar/spruanceclass.html "Spruance"-class destroyers] at [http://www.destroyerhistory.org/index.html Destroyer History Foundation]
* [http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,77803,00.html News story: "Last Spruance-Class Destroyer Decommissioned"]
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