The Oliver Hazard Perry class is a class of frigates named after the American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the naval Battle of Lake Erie. Also known as the Perry or FFG-7 class, the warships were designed in the United States in the mid-1970s as general-purpose escort vessels inexpensive enough to be bought in large quantities to replace World War II-era destroyers and 1960s-era Knox class frigates. Intended to protect amphibious landing forces, supply and replenishment groups, and merchant convoys from submarines, they also later were part of battleship-centric surface action groups and aircraft carrier battle groups/strike groups. Fifty-five ships were built in the United States: 51 for the United States Navy and four for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). In addition, eight were built in the Republic of China (Taiwan), six in Spain, and two in Australia for their navies. Former U.S. Navy warships of this class have been sold or donated to the navies of Bahrain, Egypt, Poland, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Design and construction
The ships were designed by the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine in partnership with the New York-based naval architects Gibbs & Cox.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships were produced in 445-foot (136 meter) long "short-hull" (Flight I) and 453-foot (138 meter) long "long-hull" (Flight III) variants. The long-hull ships (FFG 8, 28, 29, 32, 33, and 36-61) carry the larger SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters, while the short-hulled warships carry the smaller and less-capable SH-2 Seasprite LAMPS I. Aside from the lengths of their hulls, the principal difference between the versions is the location of the aft capstan: on long-hull ships, it sits a step below the level of the flight deck in order to provide clearance for the tail rotor of the longer Seahawk helicopters. The long-hull ships also carry the RAST (Recovery Assist Securing and Traversing) system for the Seahawk, a hook, cable, and winch system that can reel in a Seahawk from a hovering flight, expanding the ship's pitch-and-roll range in which flight operations are permitted. The FFG 8, 29, 32, and 33 were built as "short-hull" warships but were later modified into "long-hull" warships.
American shipyards constructed Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships for the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Early American-built Australian ships were originally built as the "short-hull" version, but they were modified during the 1980s to the "long-hull" design. Shipyards in Australia, Spain, and the Republic of China have produced several warships of the "long-hull" design for their navies.
Although the per-ship costs rose greatly over the period of production, all 51 ships planned for the U.S. Navy were built. Some Oliver Hazard Perry-class warships are planned to remain in American service for years, but some of the older ships have been decommissioned and some scrapped. Others of these decommissioned ships have been transferred to the navies of other countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Poland, Pakistan, and Turkey. Several of these have replaced old Second World War-built American destroyers that had been given to those countries.
During the design phase of the Oliver Hazard Perry class, head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, R.J. Daniels, was invited by an old friend, US Chief of the Bureau of Ships, Adm Robert C Gooding, to advise upon the use of variable-pitch propellers in the class. During the course of this conversation, Daniels warned Gooding against the use of aluminium in the superstructure of the FFG-7 class as he believed it would lead to structural weaknesses. A number of ships subsequently developed structural cracks, including a 40 ft fissure in USS Duncan, before the problems were remedied.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were designed primarily as anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare guided-missile warships intended to provide open-ocean escort of amphibious warfare ships and merchant ship convoys in moderate threat environments in a potential war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries. They could also provide air defense against 1970s- and 1980s-era aircraft and anti-ship missiles. These warships are equipped to escort and protect aircraft carrier battle groups, amphibious landing groups, underway replenishment groups, and merchant ship convoys. They can conduct independent operations to perform such tasks as surveillance of illegal drug smugglers, maritime interception operations, and exercises with other nations.
The addition of the Naval Tactical Data System, LAMPS helicopters, and the Tactical Towed Array System (TACTAS) gave these warships a combat capability far beyond the original expectations. They are well-suited for the littoral regions and most war-at-sea scenarios.
Notable combat actions
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates made worldwide news twice during the 1980s. Despite being small, these frigates were shown to be extremely durable. During the Iran–Iraq War, on 17 May 1987, the USS Stark was attacked by an Iraqi warplane. Struck by two Exocet anti-ship missiles, thirty-seven American sailors died in the deadly prelude to the American Operation Earnest Will, the reflagging and escorting of oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz. Less than a year later, on 14 April 1988, the Samuel B. Roberts was nearly sunk by an Iranian mine. No lives were lost, but 10 sailors were evacuated from the warship for medical treatment. The Roberts crew battled fire and flooding for 2 days, ultimately managing to save the ship. The U.S. Navy retaliated four days later with Operation Praying Mantis, a one-day attack on Iranian oil platforms being used as bases for raids on merchant shipping. Those had included bases for the minelaying operations that damaged the Samuel B. Roberts. Both frigates were repaired in American shipyards and returned to full service. The USS Stark was decommissioned in 1999, and scrapped in 2006.
The U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy has modified its remaining Perrys to reduce their operating costs, replacing Detroit Diesel Company 16V149TI electrical generators with Caterpillar, Inc.-made diesel engines.
The "zone-defense" anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) capability has vanished, and all that remains is a "point-defense" type of AAW armament. It would supposedly have been too costly to refit the Standard Missile SM-1MR missiles, which had little ability to bring down sea-skimming missiles. Another reason is to allow more SM-1MRs to go to American allies that operate Perrys, such as Poland, Spain, Australia, Turkey, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The last nine ships of the class have new remotely operated 25-mm Mk 38 Mod 2 Naval Gun Systems installed on platforms over the old MK 13 launcher magazine.
The U.S. Navy plans to update the Oliver Hazard Perry-class warships' Phalanx CIWS to the "Block 1B" capability, which will allow the Mk 15 20 mm Phalanx gun to shoot at fast-moving surface craft and helicopters. The remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships are also to be fitted with the Mk 53 DLS "Nulka" missile decoy system, which will be better than the presently-equipped chaff (SRBOC, Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff) and flares at guarding against anti-ship missiles. The remaining ships will also be outfitted with RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers.
On June 16, 2009, Vice Admiral Barry McCullough turned down the suggestion of then-U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) to keep the Perrys in service, citing their worn-out and maxed-out condition. However, U.S. Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and former U.S. Representative Gene Taylor (D-MS) took up the cause to retain the vessels.
The Perry-class frigates will eventually be replaced by Littoral Combat Ships by 2019. However the worn out frigates are being retired faster than the LCSs are being built, which may lead to a gap in United States Southern Command mission coverage.
Australia is spending A$1.46bn to upgrade Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Adelaide-class guided-missile frigates, including equipping them to fire the SM-2 version of the Standard missile, adding an eight-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system for Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, and installing better air-search radars and long-range sonar.
The first of the upgraded frigates, HMAS Sydney, returned to the RAN fleet in 2005. Each of the four frigates to be upgraded have the work at the Garden Island shipyard in Sydney, Australia, with the modernizations lasting between 18 months and two years. These frigates are planned to be replaced starting in 2013 by three new Hobart-class air warfare destroyers equipped with the AEGIS combat system. However, the third of those destroyers will not be commissioned until 2017, at the earliest.
The cost will be partly offset, in the short run, by the decommissioning and disposal of the two older frigates. HMAS Canberra was decommissioned on 12 November 2005 at naval base HMAS Stirling in Western Australia and HMAS Adelaide was decommissioned at that same naval base on 20 January 2008.
The Turkish Navy had commenced the modernization of its G class frigates with the GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi) combat management system in 2007. The first GENESIS upgraded ship was delivered in 2007, and the last delivery is scheduled for 2011. The "short-hull" Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates that are currently part of the Turkish Navy were modified with the ASIST landing platform system at the Gölcük Naval Shipyard, so that they can accommodate the S-70B Seahawk helicopters. Turkey is planning to add one eight-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLS) for the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile, to be installed forward of the present Mk 13 missile launchers, similar to the case in the modernization program of the Australian Adelaide class frigates. F-495 TCG Gediz was the first ship in the class to receive the Mk 41 VLS installation. There are also plans for new components to be installed that are being developed for the Milgem class warships (Ada class corvettes and F-100 class frigates) of the Turkish Navy. These include modern Three-dimensional and X-band radars developed by Aselsan and Turkish-made hull-mounted sonars. One of the G class frigates will also be used as a test-bed for Turkey's 6,000+ ton TF-2000 class anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) frigates that are currently being designed by the Turkish Naval Institute.
- Australia (Adelaide class): The Royal Australian Navy purchased six frigates. Four of them were built in the United States while the other two were built in Australia. Four of the ships were upgraded with the addition of an eight-cell Mk 41 VLS with 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM) missiles, and the Standard Missile SM-2, plus upgraded radars and sonars while the other two ships were decommissioned.
- Bahrain: USS Jack Williams was purchased from the American government in 1996 and re-christened Sabha.
- Egypt: Four Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates transferred from the U.S. Navy.
- Pakistan: Six to be transferred, The former USS McInerney transferred to Pakistani Navy in August 2010.
- Poland: Two frigates were transferred from the U.S. Navy in 2002 and 2003.
- Republic of China (Taiwan) (Cheng Kung-class): Taiwanese-built. Originally eight ships were equipped with eight Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles, now all but PFG-1103 are carrying four HF-2 and four HF-3 supersonic AShM. The PFG-1103 Cheng Ho will change the anti-ship mix upon their major overhaul. Seven out of eight ships added Bofors 40 mm/L70 guns for both surface and anti-air use. On November 5, 2012 Minister of Defense Kao announced the U.S. government will sell Taiwan two additional Perry-class frigates that are about to be retired from the U.S. Navy for a cost of US$240 million to be retrofitted and delivered in 2015.
- Spain (Santa Maria class): Spanish-built: six frigates.
- Turkey (G class): Eight former U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates have been transferred to the Turkish Navy. All have undergone extensive advanced modernization programs, and they are now known as the G Class frigates. The Turkish Navy modernized G Class frigates have an additional Mk-41 Vertical Launch System capable of launching Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles for close-in, as well as their longer-range SM-1 missiles; advanced digital fire control systems and new Turkish-made sonars.
- Thailand: Two former U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates are allocated by the US government to the Royal Thai Navy, subject to acceptance by the Thai government: the former USS Rentz and USS Vandegrift.
- United States: The U.S. Navy commissioned 51 FFG-7 class frigates between 1977 and 1989. As of early 2013, 18 long-hull Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates remain in active service. Of these, 10 ships are in regular service, while eight ships are in active service with the Naval Reserve Force. Additionally, there are nine decommissioned ships being held for possible transfer to other countries.
On May 11, 2009, the first International Frigate Working Group met in Mayport Naval Station to discuss maintenance, obsolescence and logistics issues regarding Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships of the U.S. and foreign navies.
The Oliver Hazard Perry frigates
|Ship Name||Hull No.||Builder||Commission–
|Oliver Hazard Perry||FFG-7||Bath Iron Works||1977–1997||Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling, 21 April 2006|||
|McInerney||FFG-8||Bath Iron Works||1979–2010||Transferred to Pakistan as PNS Alamgir (F-260)|||
|Wadsworth||FFG-9||Todd Pacific Shipyards (Todd), San Pedro||1978–2002||Transferred to Poland as ORP Gen. T. Kościuszko (273)|||
|Duncan||FFG-10||Todd, Seattle||1980–1994||Transferred to Turkey as a parts hulk|||
|Clark||FFG-11||Bath Iron Works||1980–2000||Transferred to Poland as ORP Gen. K. Pułaski (272)|||
|George Philip||FFG-12||Todd, San Pedro||1980–2003||Decommissioned, to be disposed of, 24 May 2004.|||
|Samuel Eliot Morison||FFG-13||Bath Iron Works||1980–2002||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gokova (F 496)|||
|Sides||FFG-14||Todd, San Pedro||1981–2003||Decommissioned, to be disposed of, 24 May 2004.|||
|Estocin||FFG-15||Bath Iron Works||1981–2003||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Goksu (F 497)|||
|Clifton Sprague||FFG-16||Bath Iron Works||1981–1995||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gaziantep (F 490)|||
|built for Australia as HMAS Adelaide||FFG-17||Todd, Seattle||1980–2008||Disposed, sunk as diving & fishing reef, 13 April 2011|||
|built for Australia as HMAS Canberra||FFG-18||Todd, Seattle||1981–2005||Disposed, sunk as diving & fishing reef, 4 October 2009|||
|John A. Moore||FFG-19||Todd, San Pedro||1981–2000||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gediz (F 495)|||
|Antrim||FFG-20||Todd, Seattle||1981–1996||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Giresun (F 491)|||
|Flatley||FFG-21||Bath Iron Works||1981–1996||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gemlik (F 492))|||
|Fahrion||FFG-22||Todd, Seattle||1982–1998||Transferred to Egypt as Sharm El-Sheik (F 901)|||
|Lewis B. Puller||FFG-23||Todd, San Pedro||1982–1998||Transferred to Egypt as Toushka (F 906)|||
|Jack Williams||FFG-24||Bath Iron Works||1981–1996||Transferred to Bahrain as RBNS Sabha (FFG-90)|||
|Copeland||FFG-25||Todd, San Pedro||1982–1996||Transferred to Egypt as Mubarak (F 911), renamed Alexandria in 2011|||
|Gallery||FFG-26||Bath Iron Works||1981–1996||Transferred to Egypt as Taba (F 916)|||
|Mahlon S. Tisdale||FFG-27||Todd, San Pedro||1982–1996||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gokceada (F 494)|||
|Boone||FFG-28||Todd, Seattle||1982–2012||Decommissioned 23 February 2012|||
|Stephen W. Groves||FFG-29||Bath Iron Works||1982–2012||Decommissioned 24 February 2012|||
|Reid||FFG-30||Todd, San Pedro||1983–1998||Transferred to Turkey as TCG Gelibolu (F 493)|||
|Stark||FFG-31||Todd, Seattle||1982–1999||Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling, 21 June 2006|||
|John L. Hall||FFG-32||Bath Iron Works||1982–2012||Decommissioned 9 March 2012|||
|Jarrett||FFG-33||Todd, San Pedro||1983–2011||Decommissioned, held for future foreign military sale|||
|Aubrey Fitch||FFG-34||Bath Iron Works||1982–1997||Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling, 19 May 2005|||
|built for Australia as HMAS Sydney||FFG-35||Todd, Seattle||1983-||In active service (Royal Australian Navy)|||
|Underwood||FFG-36||Bath Iron Works||1983-2013||Decommissioned 8 March 2013|||
|Crommelin||FFG-37||Todd, Seattle||1983-2012||Decommissioned 26 October 2012|||
|Curts||FFG-38||Todd, San Pedro||1983-2013||Decommissioned 25 January 2013. Granted to Mexico in 2013 but transfer pending.|||
|Doyle||FFG-39||Bath Iron Works||1983-2011||Decommissioned 29 July 2011|||
|Halyburton||FFG-40||Todd, Seattle||1983-||In active service. To be decommissioned 8 September 2014|||
|McClusky||FFG-41||Todd, San Pedro||1983-||In active service. Set to be decommissioned in 2014. Granted to Mexico for 2014 but transfer pending.|||
|Klakring||FFG-42||Bath Iron Works||1983–2013||Decommissioned 22 March 2013|||
|Thach||FFG-43||Todd, San Pedro||1984-2013||Decommissioned 1 November 2013|||
|built for Australia as HMAS Darwin||FFG-44||Todd, Seattle||1984-||In active service (Royal Australian Navy)|||
|De Wert||FFG-45||Bath Iron Works||1983-||In active service. To be decommissioned 4 April 2014|||
|Rentz||FFG-46||Todd, San Pedro||1984-||In active service. To be decommissioned 23 May 2014|||
|Nicholas||FFG-47||Bath Iron Works||1984-||In active service. To be decommissioned 17 March 2014|||
|Vandegrift||FFG-48||Todd, Seattle||1984-||In active service|||
|Robert G. Bradley||FFG-49||Bath Iron Works||1984-||In active service. To be decommissioned 28 March 2014|||
|Taylor||FFG-50||Bath Iron Works||1984-||In active service|||
|Gary||FFG-51||Todd, San Pedro||1984-||In active service|||
|Carr||FFG-52||Todd, Seattle||1985-2013||Decommissioned 13 March 2013|||
|Hawes||FFG-53||Bath Iron Works||1985–2010||Decommissioned, to be cannibalised in Philadelphia|||
|Ford||FFG-54||Todd, San Pedro||1985-2013||Decommissioned 31 October 2013|||
|Elrod||FFG-55||Bath Iron Works||1985-||In active service|||
|Simpson||FFG-56||Bath Iron Works||1985-||In active service|||
|Reuben James||FFG-57||Todd, San Pedro||1986-2013||Decommissioned 30 August 2013|||
|Samuel B. Roberts||FFG-58||Bath Iron Works||1986-||In active service|||
|Kauffman||FFG-59||Bath Iron Works||1987-||In active service|||
|Rodney M. Davis||FFG-60||Todd, San Pedro||1987-||In active service|||
|Ingraham||FFG-61||Todd, San Pedro||1989-||In active service|||
|Ship Name||Hull No.||Builder||Commission–
|HMAS Melbourne||FFG 05||Australian Marine Engineering Consolidated (AMECON), Williamstown, Victoria||1992-||In active service|
|HMAS Newcastle||FFG 06||AMECON, Williamstown||1993-||In active service|
|SPS Santa María||F81||Bazan, Ferrol||1986-||In active service|
|SPS Victoria||F82||Bazan, Ferrol||1987-||In active service|
|SPS Numancia||F83||Bazan, Ferrol||1989-||In active service|
|SPS Reina Sofía||F84||Bazan, Ferrol||1990-||In active service|
|SPS Navarra||F85||Bazan, Ferrol||1994-||In active service|
|SPS Canarias||F86||Bazan, Ferrol||1994-||In active service|
|Taiwan-built (Republic of China)|
|ROCS Cheng Kung||PFG-1101||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1993-||In active service|
|ROCS Cheng Ho||PFG-1103||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1994-||In active service|
|ROCS Chi Kuang||PFG-1105||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1995-||In active service|
|ROCS Yueh Fei||PFG-1106||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1996-||In active service|
|ROCS Tzu I||PFG-1107||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1997-||In active service|
|ROCS Pan Chao||PFG-1108||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1997-||In active service|
|ROCS Chang Chien||PFG-1109||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||1998-||In active service|
|ROCS Tian Dan||PFG-1110||China Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan||2004-||In active service|
- Wiggins, James F (2000-08). Defense Acquisitions: Comprehensive Strategy Needed to Improve Ship Cruise Missile Defence. United States General Accounting Office. ISBN 978-0-7567-0302-8. http://books.google.com/?id=RoEQ1awizu0C&pg=PA42&dq=%22USS+Stark%22&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22USS%20Stark%22. Retrieved 2010-02-16. pp.42
- Daniels, R.J, p.219, The End Of An Era: The Memoirs Of a Naval Constructor, Periscope Publishing Ltd, 2004, ISBN 1-904381-18-9, ISBN 978-1-904381-18-1
- Raleigh Clayton Muns, Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigates: United States Navy (2010), p.3
- Burgess, Richard R. (September 2003). "Guided Missiles Removed from Perry-class Frigates (Sea Services section: Northrop Grumman-Built DDG Mustin Commissioned in U.S. Pacific Fleet)". Washington, D.C.: Navy League of the United States. pp. 34. ISSN 0199-1337. OCLC 3324011. http://www.navyleague.org/sea_power/sep_03_34.php. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- Navy has few FFG options to fill LCS gap
- Mayport frigates may get reprieve
- Faram, Mark D. "Keeping frigates running no easy feat for crews." Navy Times, May 29, 2012.
- Undersecretariat of Turkish Defence Industries: GENESIS modernization program
- Turkish Navy official website: GENESIS modernization program
- MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems for Turkish Navy : Naval Forces : Defense News Air Force Army Navy News
- MK 41 Naval Vertical Missile Launch Systems Delivered, Supported (updated)
- FMS: Turkey Requests MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems
- Turkishnavy.net: First Turkish Perry With Mk-41 VLS
- Official Website - Frigates[dead link][dead link]
- Pakistan to get refurbished warship from US Times of India, October 19, 2008
- "Taiwan to buy Perry-class frigates from U.S."
- Mayport hosts frigate working group
- Bruhn, David D., Steven C. Saulnier, and James L. Whittington (1997). Ready to Answer All Bells: A Blueprint for Successful Naval Engineering. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-227-7. (Operating a Perry frigate)
- Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-733-X. (Contains material on frigates and Perrys in particular)
- Levinson, Jeffrey L. and Randy L. Edwards (1997). Missile Inbound. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-517-9. (Attack on the USS Stark (FFG 31) )
- Peniston, Bradley (2006). No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-661-5. http://www.navybook.com/nohigherhonor. (Mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) )
- Snow, Ralph L. (1987). Bath Iron Works: The First Hundred Years. Bath, Maine: Maine Maritime Museum. ISBN 0-9619449-0-0. (The origin and construction of the Perrys, from the design shipyard's point of view.)
- Wise, Harold Lee (2007). Inside the Danger Zone: The U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf 1987-88. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-970-3. http://www.insidethedangerzone.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates.|
- Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates at Destroyer History Foundation
- Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates: United States Navy Wikipedia book created 20 October 2009 at Internet Archive
- Official U.S. Navy Fact File: Frigates
- FFG-7 OLIVER HAZARD PERRY-class: by the Federation of American Scientists
- MaritimeQuest Perry Class Overview
- Launch of FFG 58
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