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USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)
The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) underway in the Mediterranean Sea in March 2003.
The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) underway in the Mediterranean Sea in March 2003.
Name: Arleigh Burke
Namesake: Arleigh Albert Burke
Ordered: 2 April 1985
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 6 December 1988
Launched: 16 September 1989
Commissioned: 4 July 1991
Homeport: NAVSTA Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Motto: Fast and Feared
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Arleigh Burke class destroyer
  • Light: approx. 6,800 long tons (6,900 t)
  • Full: approx. 8,900 long tons (9,000 t)
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h)
  • 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
  • (8,100 km at 37 km/h)
  • 33 commissioned officers
  • 38 chief petty officers
  • 210 enlisted personnel
  • Sensors and
    processing systems:
  • AN/SPY-1D 3D Radar
  • AN/SPS-67(V)2 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/SPS-73(V)12 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/SPG-62 Fire Control Radar
  • AN/SQS-53C Sonar Array
  • AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
  • AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III Shipboard System
  • Electronic warfare
    & decoys:
  • AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
  • AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
  • MK 36 MOD 12 Decoy Launching System
  • AN/SLQ-39 CHAFF Buoys
  • Armament:
  • 1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launching systems with 90 × RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles
  • 2 x Mk 141 Harpoon Missile Launcher SSM
  • 1 × Mark 45 5/54 in (127/54 mm)
  • 2 × 25 mm chain gun
  • 4 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) guns
  • 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
  • 2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
  • Aircraft carried: 2 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters can be embarked

    The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), named for Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN (1901–1996), is the lead ship of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works company at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988, and launched on 16 September 1989 by Mrs. Arleigh Burke. The Admiral himself was present at her commissioning ceremony on 4 July 1991, which was held on the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.

    The Arleigh Burke's designers incorporated many lessons learned by the Royal Navy during the Falklands campaign and from the USS Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers. The Ticonderoga-class cruisers were becoming too expensive to continue building, and were too difficult to upgrade[citation needed]. The Arleigh Burke's design includes what is now better known as stealth technology, which improves the ship's ability to evade anti-ship missiles. She also uses a slightly downgraded version of the Aegis combat system, allowing the launching, tracking, and evading missiles simultaneously. Furthermore, her all-steel construction provides good protection for her superstructure, while her Collective Protection System allows her to operate in environments contaminated by chemical, biological, or radiological materials.


    Even before the USS Arleigh Burke was commissioned, the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, was involved in the initial phases of testing. New systems, operated by fleet sailors ashore, were examined at land-based test facilities. The combat systems testing took place at the Combat System Engineering Development Site in Moorestown, New Jersey. The propulsion plant testing occurred at the Gas Turbine Ship Land-Based Engineering Site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These test results supported the acquisition decision to begin limited production of the ship class.

    The Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney delivering the keynote address during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Arleigh Burke, 4 July 1991.

    After being commissioned, and throughout 1992, the Arleigh Burke conducted extensive testing at sea. As is often the case with new ship classes, U.S. Navy officers and shipyard engineers encountered a number of problems with some shipboard systems that required the attention of this warship's design and production agencies. An additional phase of testing was added to verify the effectiveness of the modifications made to these systems – modifications incorporated into later destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class.

    Following her initial operational testing, the USS Arleigh Burke was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea in 1993, serving as the "Green Crown" during Operation Provide Promise. During her second deployment in 1995, the Arleigh Burke steamed in the Mediterranean as the "Red Crown" in support of the No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During her third cruise, in 1998, she steamed in the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Red Sea, and Black Sea, as a participant in numerous American and Allied exercises. During her fourth cruise in 2000–2001, the Arleigh Burke saw service in the Mediterranean and Red Seas and in the Persian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq and conducting exercises with allied naval partners.

    On her fifth deployment in 2003, the USS Arleigh Burke and the other units of the USS Theodore Roosevelt-led carrier battle group participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this wartime cruise, the Arleigh Burke fired Tomahawk missile strikes against targets in Iraq, escorted merchant ships and naval auxiliaries through geographic choke-points, and carried out "leadership interdiction" operations in the northern Arabian Sea. She also undertook counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. This cruise, which lasted from January through June 2003, saw the Arleigh Burke at sea over 92 percent of the time.

    In March 2003 she was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 2.[1]

    The USS Arleigh Burke has earned one Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency E Awards, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and five Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

    As a member of Destroyer Squadron 2, the Arleigh Burke operated with the USS Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group under the direction of the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Eight.

    In May 2007, the Arleigh Burke ran what the Navy is calling "soft aground" off Cape Henry Light at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.[2] Her captain, Commander Esther J. McClure, was relieved of her command shortly thereafter as a result of "loss of confidence in her ability to command".[3][4]

    In October 2007, the Arleigh Burke was involved in anti-pirate operations in 2007 in Somalia.

    In 2009, the Arleigh Burke was deployed to the eastern coast of Africa in support of AFRICOM's Africa Partnership Station. The ship represented the United States during a port visit on the island nation of Seychelles where they played a role in securing a status of forces agreement between the two countries.

    In August 2010, the Arleigh Burke entered the BAE Systems Ship Repair shipyard in Norfolk, VA for DDG Modernization, a program to upgrade the ship's systems and to extend service life to 40 years.

    On 19 April, Tom Hum of General Atomics, indicated that DDG-51 may become the test platform for a new railgun capable of launching projectiles at Mach 5 or Mach 6.[5]

    Ship's crest

    The Shield outlined in blue and gold stands for the achievements in battle of Admiral Burke against the naval power of Japan. The fist and mace symbolize the offensive and defensive power of the new destroyer. The mace, also a symbol of authority, represents Admiral Burke's service as Chief of Naval Operations. It also refers to Admiral Marc Mitscher, an influential figure and mentor for whom Admiral Burke served as Chief of Staff. Admiral Burke's Destroyer Squadron 23, represented by the border of 23 ovals, was the only United States Destroyer Squadron awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, signified by the canton of blue, yellow, and red. The ovals also refer to the year 1923 in which Midshipman Burke graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Twenty-three also reflects Admiral Burke's distinguished service on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as (OP-23).[6]

    The mounted figure of St. George recalls Admiral Burke's celebrated victory in the Battle of Cape St. George over Japanese naval forces. His mantle bears a gold cross for the Navy Cross awarded to the Admiral. The birch branch on the helmet represents Admiral Burke himself, a reference to his name derived from his Scandinavian heritage.[6]

    The red sea dragon symbolizes Japanese naval power assaulted by forces under Captain Burke's command. It is gorged with the two gold stars he was awarded for outstanding service. The lance impaling the dragon signifies ordnance on target. The capabilities of the new destroyer, the most powerful and survivable ever built, are signified by the full armor and equipment of the warrior St. George. The Admiral's nickname "31-Knot Burke" is recalled by the number 31 on the horse.[6]

    The motto "Built to Fight" is from Burke's remarks to the new crew about the destroyer, "This ship is built to fight. You had better know how."[7]

    Popular Culture

    The Arleigh Burke was used to film the at-sea scenes in the 2003 NCIS episode "The Immortals." She was also featured in the opening credits for NCIS's parent show, JAG.


    1. Retrieved May 2012
    2. Inspectors check for damage to destroyer; Virginian – Pilot. Norfolk, Va.: 18 May 2007. pg. B.5.
    3. Fire the incompetents, find the Pattons; Max Boot. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: 31 May 2007. pg. A.27
    4. Ship's commanding officer relieved of duty; Virginian – Pilot. Norfolk, Va.: 22 May 2007. pg. B.3
    5. [1] General Atomics' new railgun uses a high-speed sabot
    6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 US Navy. CUSS Arleigh Burke Ship's Crest. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
    7. Burke Obituary. Accessed 18 October 2008.

    This article includes information collected from the public domain sources Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Naval Vessel Register.

    External links

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