The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers is the longest US Navy surface combatant production run since post-World War II, with over 70 ships built and currently operational, and a dozen plus more are expected to be delivered in the next two-three decades. The building contracts for these modern warships were split between America’s biggest defense technology manufacturers, including Ingalls Shipbuilding (now Northrop Grumman Ship Systems) based in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics based in Maine.

Powerful Destroyers

Similar to the larger Ticonderoga-class cruisers, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are equipped with Aegis Weapon System (AWS) that includes the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar, advanced Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) systems, Vertical Launch System (VLS), and the Tomahawk Weapon System—giving more sophisticated capabilities compare to its predecessor the Spruance-class destroyer.

When the last Spruance-class vessel had been decommissioned, the Aegis-powered ships became the only active US Navy destroyers and fulfilled the role of providing tactical support on the multi-mission offensive and defensive, as well as operating independently or as part of carrier strike groups and other naval groups.

Since the commissioning of the lead ship USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) in 1991, the destroyers in the class have participated in numerous military operations and exercises, circumnavigating the vast ocean to support and protect US territories and its Allies. One of its notable involvement was during the fourth wave of Operation Desert Fox in 1998, where an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer launched a Tomahawk cruise missile toward Iraq.