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Spruance Class Destroyers
and Kidd Class (Spruance destroyers built for Iran)
Line drawings courtesy of
The Spruance Class destroyers, built between 1972 and 1983 under the DDX program, are the largest destroyers the Navy ever had and the first large warships to employ gas turbine engines as their main propulsion system. First deployed in 1975, the primary mission of the 31 ships that comprised the class was anti-submarine warfare. They were equipped with a Mk-112 ASROC anti-submarine rocket launcher behind the forward Mk-45 gun. The ships could also engage other ships, aircraft and shore targets.
Built with future growth in mind, Spruance destroyers were designed modular in nature which allowed for easy installation of entire sub-systems within the ship. All the ships underwent modernization to their ASW suite, helicopter capabilities, electronics and weapons systems.
After the Tomahawk cruise missile was inserted into the United States Navy, seven ships got two Mk-143 armored box launchers to carry the Tomahawks. Both launchers were placed next to the ASROC launcher. Those ships were: DD-974, DD-976, DD-979, DD-983, DD-984, DD-986 and DD-990
From 1986 onwards, the other 24 ships had the ASROC launcher removed to make room for the new Mk-41 vertical launch system which held both Tomahawks and SM-2 multiple re-entry missiles. Also, in the 1980s, each ship got two Phalanx CIWS.
Later the remaining ships not already decommissioned further got a RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launcher with 21 missiles for added anti-air defense.
Navy destroyers have historically been retired at 30 years of service. But in 1998, the seven Spruance Class destroyers which did not receive the Tomahawk VLS upgrade were decommissioned after only two decades of service in order to accommodate the introduction of the much improved AEGIS-capable Arleigh Burke Class. Several other Spruance Class destroyers have been sunk for targets or scrapped and the two that are currently in reserve are scheduled to be decommissioned. The three ships that remain active are DD-963 "USS Spruance", DD-985"USS Cushing" and DD-987 "USS O'Bannon".
The Kidd Class was a modified version of the Spruance Class built for Iran but the four destroyers were taken over by the US Navy after the fall of the Shah in July of 1979. Re-classified as Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG) on August 8th 1979, the ships have been re-activated and were transferred to Taiwan.
|LISTING of SPRUANCE CLASS WEAPON SYSTEMS:
1 Mk-29 NATO Sea Sparrow missile launcher (total load = 24 Sea Sparrow missiles)
2 Mk-45 Lightweight Gun Mounts
2 Mk-141 quad launchers for Harpoon missiles
2 Mk-15 20mm Phalanx CIWS
1 Mk-41 VLS Tomahawk/SM-2 MR missiles (all ships except DD-974, DD-976, DD-979, DD-983, DD-984, DD-986, DD-990)
2 Mk-32 triple tube mounts for Mk-46 torpedoes (total load = 18 Mk-46 torpedoes)
4 .50 Caliber Machine Guns
2 Mk-38 Machine Guns
2 Mk-143 armored box launchers for Tomahawk (only DD-974, DD-976, DD-979, DD-983, DD-984, DD-986 and DD-990)
1 Mk-112 launcher for ASROC with 16 ASROC missiles (replaced by the MK-41 VLS)
1 MK 36 Super Rapid-Blooming Off Board Chaff System
1 Rolling Airframe Missile System (only ships not already decommissioned)
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