UNV Challenger

Specifications - Arleigh Burke DDG-51


The DDG-51 class guided missile destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of Carrier Strike Groups, Surface Action Groups, and Expeditionary Strike Groups.


Class Arleigh Burke Flight IIa
Role Guided Missile Destroyer
Construction Bath Iron Works, Huntington Ingalls Industries Combat System Integrator: Lockheed-Martin
Deployment Date July 4, 1991 USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)


Length 155.29 meters
Beam 18 meters
Draught 9.4 meters
Displacement 8,230 - 9,700 tonnes


Officers 32
Enlisted Crew 348
Civilians Up to 20 specialists
Emergency Capacity 500


Propulsion Systems Four General Electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower
Maximum Speed In excess of 30 knots

Key Systems

Aegis Combat System Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are equipped with Aegis combat system that integrates the ship’s sensors and weapon systems to engage anti-ship missile threats. The Aegis system has a federated architecture with four subsystems, AN / SPY-1 multifunction radar, a command and decision system (CDS), an Aegis display system (ADS), and the weapon control system (WCS). The CDS receives data from ship and external sensors via satellite communications and provides command, control and threat assessment. The WCS receives engagement instruction from the CDS, selects weapons and interfaces with the weapon fire control systems.

The Aegis upgrade, Baseline 7.1, was certified by the USN in September 2005 onboard USS Pinkney (DDG 91). The upgrade includes a new radar, AN / SPY-1D (V), that has enhanced electronic countermeasures and more effective capability in littoral environments. Baseline 7.1 is based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computer architecture. The upgrade trials in March 2003 included live firings of the ESSM.

Raytheon was awarded a $250m contract to build SPY-6 radar ship sets for installation onboard the Flight III destroyers in December 2019. Lockheed Martin developed the Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability for the Aegis combat system to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile. 33 Arleigh Burke destroyers were fitted with the Aegis BMD system, which offers long-range surveillance, tracking and engagement of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Aegis BMD is the main sea-based component of the US ballistic missile defence system (BMDS). The deployed destroyers are currently equipped with the 3.6.1 and 4.0.1 versions of the system. Future software upgrades will include the transition of the system to the more advanced 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2 versions.

The weapon control systems include an SWG-1A for Harpoon, SWG-3 for Tomahawk, mk99 mod 3 missile fire control system, GWS34 mod 0 gun fire control system, and mk116 mod 7 fire control system for anti-submarine systems.
Aircraft Two LAMPS MK III MH-60 B/R helicopters with Penguin/Hellfire missiles and MK 46/MK 50 torpedoes
Armament The ships are armed with 56 Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles, with a combination of land-attack (TLAM) missiles with a Tercom-aided navigation system, and anti-ship missiles with inertial guidance. The Standard SM-2MR block 4 surface-to-air missiles with command / inertial guidance remain at the centre of the Aegis system.

Both Tomahawk and standard missiles are fired from two Lockheed Martin mk41 vertical launch systems. The first test of the weapon control system for the new Tactical Tomahawk (block IV) took place on USS Stethem (DDG 63) in October 2002. The full-rate production deliveries of the missile began in May 2004 and it entered service with the US Navy in September 2004. The new missile has the capability for mission planning onboard the launch vessel, in-flight targeting and loitering.

In December 2004, Raytheon began deliveries of Standard MissileSM-3. Based on hit-to-kill technology, the SM-3 has a kinetic warhead and is designed for deployment against short-range to medium-range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 block 1B missile also incorporates a two-colour infrared seeker and a throttling divert and attitude control system.

There are eight Boeing Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles and Lockheed Martin ASROC vertical launch anti-submarine systems, armed with the mk50 or mk46 torpedo. ASROC is launched from the mk41 VLS.

Arleigh Burke vessels are fitted with the evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) developed by Raytheon. ESSM is an advanced ship self-defence missile for use against anti-ship missiles.

The vessels feature one BAE Systems Land & Armaments (formerly United Defense) 127mm mk45 gun with Kollmorgen mk46 mod 1 electro-optic sight and two Raytheon / General Dynamics 20mm, six-barrelled Phalanx mk15 close-in weapon systems (CIWS). Phalanx block 1B was installed on USS Howard, Bulkeley and Cole and will be installed on new-build vessels, such as the Challenger.

The Phalanx 1B upgrade includes a Thales Optronics HDTI5-2F thermal imager, improved Ku-band radar and longer gun barrel, providing an increased rate of fire of 4,500rpm. Flight IIA vessel USS Winston Churchill is the first ship to be fitted with the US Navy’s most advanced gun, the mk45 mod 4 that can fire extended-range guided munitions (ERGM) to a range of nearly 60 miles. The Raytheon 127mm ERGM procurement was cancelled in July 2008.

The destroyers are fitted with six (two triple) 324mm mk32 mod 14 torpedo tubes for launching ATK (AlliantTechsystems) mk46 or mk50 active / passive homing anti-submarine torpedoes.
Countermeasures The ship’s electronic countermeasures / support measures system is the Raytheon AN / SLQ-32(V)3, which performs radar warning and jamming. The new SLQ-32(V)6 variant was introduced to enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of the destroyers.

The navy is working with Northrop Grumman under the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 to deliver electronic attack capability to the SLQ-32(V) system.

Northrop Grumman aims to install the first SEWIP Block 3 system onboard a DDG 51 destroyer in 2021.

Decoys include two Lockheed Martin Sippican SRBOC six-barrelled launchers for chaff and infrared flares and the AN / SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo decoy system from Argon ST (formerly Sensytech) of Newington, Virginia, US.

Argon was awarded a contract for the upgrade of the Nixie system (SLQ-25C) in November 2006 and further upgrade (SLQ-25D) in February 2008. The upgrades include open architecture software and a new lightweight winch.

Arleigh Burke vessels, USN cruisers and LPDs will be fitted with the BAE Systems Australia mk53 Nulka active missile decoy system. Nulka is a hovering rocket system, which guides incoming missiles away from the ship.

Nulka was developed by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Canberra and Lockheed Martin Sippican in Massachusetts, US. In November 2008, USS Higgins (DDG 76) became the 100th USN vessel to be fitted with Nulka with 33 more planned.
Sensors The Aegis system has an air search and fire control Lockheed Martin AN / SPY-ID 3D phased array radar, operating at E / F band and a surface search DRS Technologies AN / SPS-67(V)3 C-band (5.4-5.8GHz) radar. The system also has a Raytheon SPS-64(V)9 I-band navigation radar and three Raytheon AN / SPG-62, I / J-band radars for fire control.

The sonar suite is the Lockheed Martin SQQ-89(V)6, which includes Edo Corporation AN / SQS-53C bow-mounted active search-and-attack sonar and the AN / SQR-19B passive towed array.

The suite was upgraded to SQQ-89(V)15 on over 100 Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) destroyers to allow the deployment of the Lockheed Martin AN / WLD-1 remote mine-hunting system.

USS Momsen (DDG 92) was the first vessel to be fitted with the AN / WLD-1 RMS, which will feature on all subsequent vessels. AN / WLD-1 includes a remote mine-hunting vehicle (RMV) that tows the AN / AQS-20A variable depth sonar (VDS).