May 7 at the Huntington Ingalls Industries plant (Pascagula, PCs. Mississippi), work was started on the construction of the newest destroyer USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125). Employees of the enterprise began construction by cutting the first 100 tons of metal, which were to take their place in the hull of the future ship. To date, the HII plant has managed to build three and a half dozen destroyers such as Arley Burke, but the current order is special. The company was honored to launch the production of the first ship of the new series. At the same time, the plant has a great responsibility.
According to current plans, the construction of a new ship will be completed early next decade. After all necessary tests, it will be handed over to the naval forces. In accordance with the construction contract signed, the destroyer will be handed over in 2023. Thus, a new combat unit with improved capabilities will be ready for service only after five years.
The first destroyer of the new series is named after Jacklin Harrell "Jack" Lucas (1928-2008) ordinary first class. Being well developed, in the 1942, at the age of just 14, he managed to get into the Marine Corps. During the battle for Iwo Jima, a pair of Japanese grenades hit the trench with Lukas and several of his comrades. He tried to throw away one of them, and covered the other with himself. Fortunately, only the thrown grenade exploded. Jack Lucas received numerous wounds, and his comrades remained intact and continued to fight. For heroism and the salvation of fellow first-class private JH. Lucas was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The new ship, named after the hero, is being built on the updated project Arleigh Burke / DDG-51 Flight III. This differs from the previous modernization projects by the special scale of innovations, among other things, which demanded a serious redesign of the ship design. Reportedly, 45% hull and superstructure designs were modified to install a variety of new equipment needed to increase the destroyer's potential. First of all, such changes are associated with new energy systems and with the installation of a promising radar station.
Three-dimensional model of the future ship. Figure by Huntington Ingalls Industries / huntingtoningalls.com
However, most of the innovations of the third series of destroyers "hide" inside the main structures and are almost invisible from the outside. At the same time, the designers had to increase the size of the ship. As a result, it will be noticeably larger than its predecessors, but it will retain characteristic contours and a recognizable silhouette with a large deck dedicated to rocket armament and a high superstructure.
According to the project, ships DDG-51 Flight III will have a length of 160 m with a maximum width of 20 m and a normal draft of 10 m. Normal displacement will be reduced to 9300 t. In the stern compartments and superstructure, the launcher and aggregates of the main power plant will remain in their places. The superstructure will retain the hangars for two helicopters, and the aft deck will continue to perform the functions of a take-off platform.
Destroyers of the third series should be equipped with a pair of gas turbine engines General Electric LM2500-30, connected with two propellers. The total capacity of such an installation - 100 ths. The estimated maximum speed of the ship exceeds 35 nodes. Cruising range (at an economic speed) is at least 4 thousand nautical miles. Despite a noticeable increase in size and displacement, new ships will be faster than their predecessors.
Shipyard staff at an event dedicated to the beginning of metal cutting. Photos of Huntington Ingalls Industries / huntingtoningalls.com
The main innovation of the project Flight III, followed by a variety of changes in the design of the entire ship, affects the composition of radio-electronic equipment. The destroyers of the first two series were completed with radar stations of the AN / SPY-1 family. Such equipment has proven itself well, but it has become morally obsolete. The characteristics of these radars no longer fully meet current requirements, and therefore new ships that are to serve in the distant future must carry a different type of station.
In the superstructure of the ship USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), phased antenna arrays of the perspective AN / SPY-6 radar will be mounted. Due to the increased power and performance, such a station will be able to earlier find air and surface targets with a small effective area of dispersion. Thanks to this, the destroyer will be able to learn about the threats earlier, and in addition, the crew will have more time for the correct response and the choice of the correct answer to them.
According to open data, the AFAR promising radar is built using new technologies and materials, which dramatically increases its characteristics. In particular, the sensitivity of the AN / SPY-6 station in comparison with the existing AN / SPY-1 is increased 30 times. Also used a new configuration of antenna arrays, so that the ship will receive a circular review. Taking into account modern threats, the developers of new radio-electronic equipment have provided for passive radar mode. The ship will be able to find targets by their own signals without emitting themselves.
The possibility of detecting aerodynamic and ballistic targets with the subsequent issuance of target designation for various weapons. Radar AN / SPY-6 built with the concept of IAMD (Integrated Air and Missile Defense) and is able to work with air defense or missile defense.
Layout of the ship Arleigh Burke / DDG-51 Flight III. Photo Navyrecognition.com
High performance and new features were obtained at a very high price. For the installation of a larger and heavier station, the most serious processing of the hull and superstructure of the carrier ship was required. In addition, AN / SPY-6 imposes increased requirements on power supply, which led to the refinement of the corresponding ship systems. Finally, the radar needs enhanced cooling means. Nevertheless, all these engineering tasks were successfully solved, and a promising radar can be installed on new-type serial ships.
To control the shooting of certain types of weapons, the ship receives a radar type AN / SPQ-9B. Also, to monitor the situation and search for targets can be used opto-electronic system Mk 20 Mod 1 with day and night channels. Saved most of the sonar systems to search for underwater targets. The ship is equipped with modern means of electronic warfare: as jamming equipment, and production rockets Mk 53 Nulka.
Receiving new radio-electronic systems, the destroyer Arleigh Burke of the third series retains most of the existing weapons. First of all, the new project involves the use of two universal vertical launchers Mk 41. In the bow of the ship, in front of the superstructure, is placed a similar system with 32 cells for containers with missiles. In the aft superstructure there is a second installation twice the capacity. The ammunition of the two installations may include 96 missiles of various types. The ship of the type Flight III retains compatibility with existing and promising anti-aircraft missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and anti-submarine complexes. The composition of the ammunition, the types and number of missiles transported should be determined in accordance with the characteristics of the upcoming combat service.
The nose of the destroyer. Photo Navyrecognition.com
Also on board the ship there is an installation Mk 45 with a 127 caliber mm gun, a pair of Mk 38 anti-aircraft guns with 25-mm guns and one Phalanx CIWS system with 20 mm caliber guns. Artillery weapons to combat surface or air targets are complemented by four large-caliber machine guns M2HB. Anti-submarine rocket armament reinforced with a pair of three-tube torpedo tubes caliber 323 mm.
To solve a variety of tasks aboard the destroyer will be four motor boats carried on the central part of the deck. The stern hangars and the take-off area are designed to operate a pair of UH-60 helicopters or similar.
The new destroyer and the following ships DDG-51 Flight III will be crews of 380 officers and sailors. As the Arleigh Burke project developed, the number of ship crews increased steadily. The latest modifications of the destroyers, including some versions of the Flight II series, are distinguished by an especially large crew.
According to current plans, in the foreseeable future, destroyers of the new version of Arleigh Burke Flight III will have to change the ships of previous modifications in a series. Over time, their mass production will significantly improve the grouping of surface ships, increasing the overall potential fleet. At the same time, specific plans for the near future have already been identified, and concepts are being formed in accordance with which the Navy will be developed in the long term.
New configuration of the superstructure of the ship. Photo Navyrecognition.com
The Pentagon and the Bath Iron Works shipyard have already signed a contract to build the second Flight III ship. Destroyer USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG-126) will begin to build in the very near future. According to known data, the contractor has already begun preparations for its launch. The finished ship will be handed over to the customer almost simultaneously with "Jack H. Lucas" - in 2023-24.
At the beginning of 2018, representatives of the US military announced further plans. This year, the Pentagon plans to sign new contracts for the construction of another 10 destroyers. In this case, now we will talk only about the ships of the latest modification. Various variants of the project Flight II are now discontinued. It is expected that the simultaneous order of a dozen new ships will allow to achieve substantial savings in finances. In addition, it will speed up the construction process to some extent and will bring the time of delivery of the last ship ordered.
However, the construction of the next batch of ships will begin no earlier than the contracting enterprises will fulfill the existing orders. For example, four destroyers of the Arleigh Burke type and several other warships are currently located at different stages of readiness at the plant of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Their delivery will free up production facilities for the fulfillment of new contracts.
View of the stern. Photo Navyrecognition.com
According to the famous plans of the Pentagon, the construction of Arleigh Burke destroyers of various modifications will continue until the thirties. During this time, the naval forces will be able to receive several dozen ships that initially meet modern requirements. In this case, from a certain time, the total number of destroyers will almost not change, since the fleet will have to start writing off the oldest ones that have exhausted their resources. New ships in this case will be a shift for decommissioned.
It is expected that the third series of destroyers will be produced before the beginning of the thirties. Further plans of the military for the construction of such ships are unknown. At the turn of the last decades, the military department proposed to develop in the future a new project for the modernization of ships. The Arleigh Burke Flight IV versions could go on the 2030-32 series and be built at least until the beginning of the next decade. However, Congress did not endorse such a proposal. The funding offered for such a project was decided to redirect to other programs.
In the coming years, the Pentagon may form new plans and even get permission from Congress to implement them. However, so far one of the most important tasks in the context of the construction program of surface ships is the construction of the first destroyer Arleigh Burke / DDG-51 Flight III. The main work on the assembly of structures will be completed no later than the beginning of the twenties, and in the future the finished ship will be put to the test. If no major problems are identified, in the 2023, the US Navy will receive a new combat unit.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the United States launched the construction of the first ship of the new type, which has the most serious differences from its predecessors. In about five years, this destroyer will enter the combat strength of the naval forces, and then more than a dozen sisterships will follow. The Arleigh Burke ships of the Flight III version have high hopes of both military and political nature. Whether they will justify the expectations and whether they will be able to realize all the potential that was pledged - we will know later
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