U.S. Navy Burke-class destroyers are one of the few ship classes named for a living individual, Admiral Arleigh Burke. Burke (1901 - 1996) was a legendary World War II destroyer commander, who rose to become the youngest Chief of Naval Operations. He attended the dedication of the first ship of the class. Somewhat ironically given Burke's record against the Japanese in WWII, Japanese Kongo-class destroyers are authorized copies of Flight I Burkes, being upgraded for area ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability
Like most modern naval vessels, the Burke class, of 63 ships, follows a "spiral" development model. The first series was called "Flight I", and, while the most recent are "Flight IIA", there have been several significant "sub-flight" enhancements; see variants.
These are not small ships; their displacement is more typical of a World War II light cruiser. All ships of the class share being multirole vessels built around the AEGIS battle management system, and having a principal weapons system of vertical launch system (VLS) missiles as well as secondary armament. They are built around the AN/SPY-1D radar; they do not have the secondary extra-long-range AN/SPS-49 radars of the Ticonderogas.
In a reversion of traditional doctrine of destroyer vs. cruiser; the Burkes have more Kevlar armor and radar signature reduction, as well as all-steel construction, than the Ticonderogas. The rationale is that Burkes are more likely to take damage on independent or outer picket missiles, and the Ticonderogas, either close escorts to high-value assets or surface action group leaders, can fire the Burke's weapons using the Cooperative Engagement Capability.
Primary weapons system
- RIM-156 Standard SM-2 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM)
- RIM-162 ESSM medium-range SAM
- RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC
- RIM-161 Standard SM-3 when equipped with area BMD electronics
5" gun, several improvements
Defensive and countermeasures system
- Super Rapid Blooming 6-barrelled SRBOC chaff and infrared decoy launchers;
- AN/SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo decoy system
- AN/SLQ-32(V)3 electronic warfare
- Phalanx close-in weapons system, to be replaced by RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
- Some have Mk 38 Bushmaster 25mm chain autocannon for use against boats and light targets
- AN/SQQ-89 ASW Combat System controls the RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC and the final-defense Mark 46 deck-launched torpedoes
- AN/SPS-64 surface search and navigation radar; not primarily a combat system
Many of the additions, especially of electronics, have been retrofitted to earlier versions. This table shows the ships in which a feature first appeared. Like the Ticonderogas, AEGIS has its own spiral improvement program.
|Flight||DD hull numbers||Enhancements|
|Flight I||51-71||AEGIS Baseline 4 with SPY-1D radar; 5"-54 caliber gun; 90 VLS cells|
|58- 67||JTIDS; Tactical Information Exchange System (TADIX B) satellite communications, AN/SLQ-32(V)3, SM-2 Block IV Extended Range Missile added.|
|68||AEGIS Baseline 5|
|69- 71||SPY-1D Track Initiation Processor (which permits the screening of transient detections prior to transition-to-track), X-Windows format Tactical Graphics Capability, and an embedded Command and Control Processor with joint Link 16 capability.|
|Flight II||72-78||AN/SRS-1A(V) Combat Direction Finding, SLQ-32(V)3 electronic warfare upgrade, SM-2 Block IV Extended Range Missile .|
|Flight IIA||79-80||Length and displacement extended to 509-513 feet overall, 9,192-9,217 tons. Helicopter hangar in place of Harpoon|
|81-84||5"-62 caliber gun; RGM-165 land attack Standard missile (LASM) was scheduled but suspended. AN/SYQ-27 Naval Fire Control System (compatible with Army Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and JTIDS Link 16).|
|85-90||Area TBMD (AN/SPY-2 radar enhancements)|
|91-107||AEGIS Baseline 7.1 with AN/SPY-1D(V) radar; AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System|
As seen above, there are variations and retrofits.
- Builder: Bath Iron Works, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.
- SPY-1 Radar and Combat System Integrator: Lockheed Martin
- Date Deployed: July 4, 1991 (USS Arleigh Burke)
- Propulsion: Four General Electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines in a COGAG system; two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower.
- Flights I and II (DDG 51-78): 505 feet (153.92 meters)
- Flight IIA (DDG 79 AF): 509½ feet (155.29 meters).
- Beam: 59 feet (18 meters).
- DDG 51 through 71: 8,230 L tons (8,362.06 metric tons) full load
- DDG 72 through 78: 8,637 L tons (8,775.6 metric tons) full load
- DDG 79 onwards: 9,496 L tons (9,648.40 metric tons) full load
- Speed: In excess of 30 knots.
- DDG 79-84: 278 (24 officers)
- DDG 85-102: 276 (24 officers)