HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division started fabrication of the U.S. Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyer Thad Cochran (DDG 135) on Monday. The start of fabrication signifies that the shipyard is ready to move forward with the construction of the ship and that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.
“Our shipbuilders are proud to begin construction on the newest Flight III destroyer,” Ingalls Shipbuilding DDG Program Manager Ben Barnett said. “We will continue to work with our Navy and industry partners to provide our military with the most capable and survivable ships.”
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Guided missile destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. surface fleet and are capable of fighting multiple air, surface and subsurface threats simultaneously.
On June 27, Ingalls delivered the first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), to the Navy as part of the transition to Flight III destroyers. With the addition of Thad Cochran, Ingalls now has five Flight III destroyers under construction including Ted Stevens (DDG 128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), George M. Neal (DDG 131) and Sam Nunn (DDG 133). In addition, all remaining fiscal year 2018 multi-year procurement ships and the first two of the recently awarded fiscal year 2023 ships are in early pre-planning and material procurement phases.
Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers incorporate a number of design modifications that collectively provide significantly enhanced capability including the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) and the Aegis Baseline 10 Combat System that are designed to keep pace with the threats well into the 21st century.