Asia Defense

US Navy to Commission New Guided Missile Destroyer at Pearl Harbor

This will be the U.S. Navy’s first guided missile destroyer fitted with the new Aegis combat system.

US Navy to Commission New Guided Missile Destroyer at Pearl Harbor
Credit: US Navy

The U.S. Navy is slated to commission the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on July 15, the service announced in a statement this week. The commissioning ceremony will be overseen by the commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), Admiral Harry Harris.

The 9,140-ton USS John Finn is 509 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Similar to other Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, the USS John Finn is a multi-purpose surface warship capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare missions.

Each destroyer of the class is fitted with ninety vertical launch system cells armed with various types of missiles for anti-air warfare and land attack missions. The warship also features an advanced over-the-horizon anti-ship missile system, and a torpedo launching system. 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 destroyer will also be capable of accommodating up to two MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters. According to the U.S. Navy, the USS John Finn will be one of the first Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer equipped with the Baseline 9 version of the Aegis Combat System.

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.

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“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 USS John Finn will be the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be commissioned into the U.S. Navy.