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The Spruance class destroyer is the last class of pure destroyer (DD) in the United States Navy. With the newer guided-missile destroyer classes such as the AEGIS weapon system-capable Arleigh Burke class ships being integrated into the fleet, the Spruance is on the road to being decomissioned early in the twenty-first century. Several ships of the class have been decomissioend already, because they did not receive the important vertical launch system upgrade. However, in the time that the Spruance Class was a major part of the fleet, it performed several vital roles.

The primary role of the Spruance class destroyer was that of anti submarine warfare. One of the greatest threats to the U.S. military backbone of the carrier battlegroup (CVBG) was that of attack by enemy submarines. The Los Angeles Class Attack Submarine was one prong in the Navy's ASW strategy, however it was felt that there should be dedicated surface ASW platforms as well. To acheive its goal of acquiring, tracking, and eliminating enemy submarines, the Spruance class is outfitted with two SH-60 Seahawk ASW helicopters to extend the class's ASW range (and provide some multimission flexibility). The Spruance carries several different underwater detection systems; including the AN/SQR-19 towed SONAR array and the AN/SQS-53B Hull-Mounted SONAR. Together, the Spruance's SONAR capabilities are tied into what is collectively called the AN/SQQ-89 SONAR System.

Though anti-submarine warfare is the Spruance class's primary mission, the 24 upgraded ships all posess a Mk-41 Vertical Launch System for the firing of ship-surface Tomahawk cruise missiles, AGM-84 Harpoons, and ASROC guided missiles. this upgrade greatly increased the Spruance class's combat flexibility, making a more valuable and cost-effective part of the U.S. Navy. The Advanced Tomahawk Weapons Control System allows the Spruance to fire up to 61 Tomahawk guided missiles at a range of 700 miles, making a single Spruance class destroyer a significant battlefield asset. In addition, the Spruance is outfitted with a pair of medium five-inch/54 calibre guns, each capable of firing twenty rounds per minute at a range of twelve miles.

To help complement their role in the carrier battle group, the Spruance is outfitted with significant anti-air capabilities. Primary to the Spruance's air defenses is the NATO Sea Sparrow Point Defence Missile System, which was developed along with several other NATO countries for use aboard ship. The system employs RIM-7M Sparrow missiles, and is capable of engaging enemy aircraft and incoming cruise missiles. The long-range air radar system of the Spruance is apparently somewhat lacking, limiting its overall contribution to battlegroup air defence. This shortcoming is one of the strengths newer AEGIS-capable ships have over the Spruance class.

The Spruance class is remarkable, because it is the first Navy vessel to employ gas turbine technology as the primary means of propulsion. This allows the Spruance greater range. The Spruance class uses an increased level of automation, reducing the overall required crew complement. Also, the construction of the Spruance is somewhat modular in nature, allowing for a high degree of flexibility in future upgrades. Indeed, several later classes of ship were based on the Spruance class hull.

The USS Spruance and the Spruance Class which followed were named after Admiral Raymond Spruance, admiral who commanded the U.S. Fifth Fleet, and led U.S. forces to victory at the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima , and Okinawa.

Spruance Class Statistics
Power plant: 4 LM 2500 General Electric gas turbines; two shafts, 80,000 shaft horsepower
Length: 563 feet (171.6 meters)
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Displacement: 9,100 tons (8,190 metric tons) full load
Speed: 33 knots (38 mph, 60.8 kph)
Range: 6000 nautical miles @ 20 knots
Aircraft: Two SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters
Crew: 30 officers, 352 enlisted

Armament:

  • 2 - MK 143 Armored Box Launchers for Tomahawk SLCM
  • 1 - MK41 Vertical Launch System for Tomahawk SLCM
  • 2 - MK 141 quad launchers w/ 8 Harpoon missiles
  • MK 29 launchers for NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System
  • 2 - MK 15 20mm Phalanx CIWS Close-In Weapons Systems
  • 2 - 5-Inch 54 Cal. MK 45 Guns (lightweight gun)
  • 2 - MK 32 triple tube mounts w/ six Mk-46 torpedoes)
  • MK 112 Launcher for ASROC

    Combat Systems:
  • SPS-40E Air Search Radar
  • SPS-55 Surface Search Radar
  • SPG-60 Gun Fire Control Radar
  • SPQ-9A Gun Fire Control Radar
  • SQS-53B Sonar SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
  • SLQ-32 (V)3 OUTBOARD II

    Command and Control
  • JOTS
  • Link 11
  • HF Radios
  • UHF Radios
  • VHF Radios

    Average Annual Unit Operating Cost: ~$35,000,000 (FY 1996)

    Spruance class ships
    Name     			Homeport 	Commissioned	Decommissioned
    
    Spruance (DD-963)		Mayport		20 Sep 1975 	2005
    Paul F. Foster (DD-964)		Everett		21 Feb 1976 	2006
    Kinkaid (DD-965)		San Diego	10 Jul 1976 	2006
    Hewitt (DD-966)			Yokosuka	25 Sep 1976 	2006
    Elliot (DD-967)			San Diego	22 Jan 1977 	2007
    Arthur W. Radford (DD-968)	Norfolk		15 Apr 1977 	2007
    Peterson (DD-969)		Norfolk		09 Jul 1977 	2007
    Caron (DD-970)			Norfolk		01 Oct 1977 	2007
    David R. Ray (DD-971)		Everett		19 Nov 1977 	2007
    Oldendorf (DD-972)		San Diego	04 Mar 1978 	2008
    John Young (DD-973)		San Diego	20 May 1978 	2008
    Comte De Grasse (DD-974)	Norfolk		05 Aug 1978 	05 Jun 1998
    O'Brien (DD-975)		Yokosuka	03 Dec 1977 	2007
    Merrill (DD-976)		San Diego	11 Mar 1978 	26 Mar 1998
    Briscoe (DD-977)		Norfolk		03 Jun 1978 	2008
    Stump (DD-978)			Norfolk		19 Aug 1978 	2008
    Connolly (DD-979)		Mayport		14 Oct 1978 	Sep 1998
    Moosbrugger (DD-980)		Mayport		16 Dec 1978 	2008
    John Hancock (DD-981)		Mayport		10 Mar 1979 	2009
    Nicholson (DD-982)		Mayport		12 May 1979 	2009
    John Rodgers (DD-983)		Mayport		14 July 1979 	04 Sep 1998
    Leftwich (DD-984)		Pearl Harbor	25 Aug 1979 	27 Mar 1998
    Cushing (DD-985)		Yokosuka	20 Oct 1979 	2009
    Harry W. Hill (DD-986)		San Diego	17 Nov 1979 	29 May 1998
    O'Bannon (DD-987)		Mayport		15 Dec 1979 	2009
    Thorn (DD-988)			Norfolk		16 Feb 1980 	2010
    Deyo (DD-989)			Norfolk		22 Mar 1980 	2010
    Ingersoll (DD-990)		Pearl Harbor	12 Apr 1980 	24 Jul 1998
    Fife (DD-991)			Everett		31 Mar 1980 	2010
    Fletcher (DD-992)		Pearl Harbor	12 Jul 1980 	2010
    Hayler (DD-997)			Norfolk		05 Mar 1983 	2013
    


    Sources
    http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/dd-963.htm http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html
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