The U.S. Navy commissioned the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on July 15 under the auspices of Admiral Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).
“This warship is the embodiment of America’s resolve to protect our homeland and defend our allies,” the admiral said during his remarks. The new 9,140-ton USS John Finn, a multi-purpose surface guided-missile destroyer capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-submarine warfare missions, is PACOM’s latest asset to fight “the many forces of darkness” in the region including “forces like North Korea.” The admiral added.
“As long our Commander-in-Chief and the American people have an insatiable appetite for security, I have an insatiable appetite for the tools to underwrite that security – to deter, to dissuade and, if necessary, to defeat and to destroy our adversaries,” the admiral continued. “Make no mistake, capabilities like the magnificent machine behind me will do just that.”
In a tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the USS John Finn, “will provide essential capabilities to keep America safe. Our sailors are the best anywhere in the world. Congratulations!” During his election campaign, Trump promised to build a 350-ship fleet, which would require doubling the U.S. Navy’s current shipbuilding budget.
“In my opinion we can’t get our most advanced assets here fast enough. As North Korea’s recent ICBM test demonstrates… as Chinese and Russian aggressiveness grows… as ISIS tries to gain a foothold in our region, USS John Finn couldn’t come to the Indo-Asia-Pacific at a more pivotal moment in our nation’s history,” Admiral Harris said during the commissioning ceremony.
The new warship is fitted with 90 vertical launch system cells armed with various types of missiles for anti-air warfare and land attack missions. In addition, the USS John Finn is equipped with an advanced over-the-horizon anti-ship missile system, a torpedo launching system, and one 127 millimeter gun next to two close-in weapon systems for defense against anti-ship missiles.
The USS John Finn will be the first Arleigh Burke-class destroyer equipped with the Baseline 9 version of the Aegis Combat System. “This is the first new construction ship built from the keel up with the Aegis Baseline 9 Weapon System,” the admiral said. “[T]he Baseline 9 is the ‘sine qua non’ of combat systems that allows this ship to simultaneously conduct air warfare and ballistic missile defense,” he added. As I explained last week:
Aegis Baseline 9, like previous Aegis variants, is an automated command-and-control (C2) and weapons control system offering integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capabilities to surface warships. The heart of the Aegis Combat System is the AN/SPY-1—“the Navy’s most advanced multi-function radar system,” according to Lockheed Martin. It is an advanced, automatic detect and track, multi-function phased-array radar system.
“This high-powered radar is able to perform search, track, and missile guidance functions simultaneously, with a track capacity of more than 100 targets,” according to the U.S. Navy. “When paired with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare,” Lockheed Martin claims including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
Aegis Baseline 9 offers a number of improvements from previous versions of the combat system. “The Aegis Combat System Baseline 9.C1 offers unprecedented capabilities, including simultaneous air and ballistic missile defense,” Sheridan, the Lockheed Martin director of Aegis programs, said in statement. “This Aegis baseline also improves Aegis networking capabilities, allowing Aegis vessels to automatically coordinate defense with input from satellite and ground-based radar assets—forming a true shield of defense over a wide area.”
The new warship will be the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer commissioned into service.