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Surface Navy 2022: US Navy remains on track for new and updated destroyer fleet

The guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney is being being upgraded with a modernised combat system and associated equipment. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is holding course for its next-generation and modernised guided-missile destroyers (DDGs), according to Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, commander of both the Naval Surface Forces and the Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet.

Guided-missile destroyer Jack H Lucas (DDG 125) – the navy's first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class ship, which launched in June 2021 – is on track to be christened later this year, Vice Adm Kitchener said during a media roundtable on 7 January in advance of the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which starts on 11 January in Arlington, Virginia.

The DDG 51 Flight III advancements are anchored by the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar and incorporates upgrades to the electrical power and cooling capacity plus additional associated changes to provide greatly enhanced warfighting capability, navy officials noted. According to them, the new radar is needed to defend against evolving missile and other threats.

At the same time, USS Pinckney (DDG 91) – a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer – is going through a modernisation meant for other Flight IIA ships to upgrade its Aegis Combat System and other major systems on the ship, Vice Adm Kitchener added.

β€œThe DDG modernisation programme, the 2.0, that is a very complex availability, that is a lot of work,” the surface fleet chief said. β€œWe're talking about the SPY-6 [radar], with Aegis, with SEWIP (Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program). We've got to make sure we've got right.”

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