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The DD 963 SPRUANCE - class

Development and History:

At the end of the 1960th the US Navy started a competition for a new class of guided missile ships which should be more suitable to contribute in carrier battle groups as the ships of the KNOX-class.

This program was called DDX and at the end Ingalls Shipbuilding was awarded the contract to build all ships of that class.

The thirty-one SPRUANCE class destroyers were developed for the primary mission of anti-submarine warfare, including operations as an integral part of attack carrier forces. The SPRUANCE-class ships are more than twice as large as a World War II destroyer and as large as a World War II cruiser.

Utilizing highly developed weapons systems, the SPRUANCE class destroyers are designed to hunt down and destroy high speed submarines in all weather, but can also engage ships, aircraft, and shore targets. These multi-purpose combatants are also capable of providing naval gunfire support in conjunction with Marine amphibious operations worldwide.

Built with future growth in mind, their design is modular in nature, allowing for easy installation of entire subsystems within the ship. Space and power reservations have been made to accommodate future weapons and electronics systems as they are developed. Originally developed as Anti-Submarine (ASUW) destroyers, 24 ships of this class were upgraded with the installation of a 61 cell Vertical Launch Missile System (VLS) capable of launching Tomahawk missiles.

Navy destroyers have historically been retired by 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, to accommodate the introduction of the improved AEGIS-capable ARLEIGH BURKE destroyers. All decommissioned ships are scheduled to be scrapped.

The SPRUANCE class destroyers were the first class of ships in the US Navy to have gas turbine power. The four General Electric LM-2500 engines are marine shaft power versions of the TF39 turbofan used on DC-10 and C-5A aircraft. Producing a total of 80,000 shaft horsepower, they can drive the ship in excess of 30 knots, but it does not happen very often that all four engines work at the same time. One engine is able to accelerate the ship to 19 knots, two engines reach 27 knots. The two other engines are only activated when the ship shall reach its high speed of 33 knots. From the cold start of the engines to the high speed it takes just twelve minutes.

The whole engine installations are insulated against the own noise and that promotes the ASUW and the operation of the sonar installations.

The SPRUANCE class destroyers are equipped with three gas turbine generator. Each of the three gas turbine generators produces 2,000 kilowatts of power.

Twin controllable-reversible pitch propellers provide these ships with a degree of maneuverability unique among warships of its size.

A high degree of automation permits a reduced crew of 30 officers and 352 enlisted to operate the ship. Comfort and habitability are integral elements to the ship's design, which includes amenities such as a crew's lounge, ATM machine, gymnasium, class room, and ship's store.

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About the Armament:

In the beginning all SPRUANCE class destroyers were equipped with a Mk-112 launcher for ASROC behind the #1 Mk-45 leightweight gun mount. After insertion of the Tomahawk cruise missile, seven ships got two Mk-143 armored box launchers for Tomahawk. Both launchers were placed next to the ASROC launcher.

From 1986 on, all the other ships were equipped with the Mk-41 VLS and the ASROC launcher was removed.

In the 1980th, each ship got two Phalanx CIWS. All ships with the exception of the decommissioned ones will get a RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launcher with 21 missiles each.

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DD 974, DD 976, DD 979, DD 983, DD 984, DD 986 and DD 990
with the Tomahawk box launchers and the ASROC launcher

SPRUANCE class destroyers equipped with the Mk-41 VLS

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General Characteristics - Spruance class
Builders:Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.
Power Plant:4 General Electric LM-2500 Gas Turbine Engines (80,000 Shaft Horsepower)
3 Allison 501-K17 2000 kilowatt Gas Turbine Generators
2 Controllable-Reversible Pitch Propellers
2 Rudders
Length:564,3 feet (172 meters)
Beam:55 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft:28,9 feet (8.8 meters)
Displacement:approx. 9,200 tons full load
Speed:30+ knots
Range:6,000 nautical miles @ 20 knots
Crew:30 Officers, 352 enlisted
Sensors:1 AN/SQR-l9 (V) 3 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
1 AN/SPS40E Air Search Radar
1 AN/SPS-55 Surface Search Radar
1 AN/SPQ-9A Surface Surveillance and Tracking Radar
1 AN/SPG-60 Air Surveillance and Tracking Radar
1 AN/SQS-53B Hull Mounted Sonar 1 AN/SLQ-32 (V) 2 Electronic Warfare Suite
1 SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Deception Device
1 WRN-6A Global Positioning System
1 MK 23 Target Acquisition System
1 AN/SLQ-49 Inflatable Radar Decoy System
Weapons Systems:1 Mk-29 NATO Sea Sparrow missile launcher
2 Mk-45 Leightweight Gun Mounts
2 Mk-141 quad launchers for Harpoon missiles
2 Mk-15 20mm Phalanx CIWS
1 Mk-41 VLS (all ships except DD 974, DD 976, DD 979, DD 983, DD 984, DD 986 and DD 990)
2 Mk-32 triple tube mounts for Mk-46 torpedoes
4 .5 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 (replaced by the MK-41 VLS)
1 MK 36 Super Rapid-Blooming Off Board Chaff System
Command and Control:JOTS
Link 11
HF Radios
UHF Radios
VHF Radios
Aircraft:2 LAMPS MK III (SH-60F)
Annual Average Unit Operating Cost:$35,000,000
Date deployed:September 20, 1975 (USS Spruance)

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Notes of Interest:
  • The crew of a SPRUANCE class destroyer has a combined annual income of approximately $12 million.
  • The SPRUANCE class destroyers are the biggest destroyers the Navy ever had
  • Each destroyer carries 1,200 shells for the Mk-45 leightweight guns, 24 Sea Sparrow missiles and 18 Mk-46 torpedoes.
    Ships equipped with the ASROC launcher carried 16 ASROC missiles. The Mk-41 VLS contains Tomahawk and SM-2 MR missiles.
  • The SPRUANCE class destroyers are not correctly classified: The SPRUANCE class destroyers are classified as DD although they are equipped with guided missiles and are able to launch them. So the SPRUANCE class destroyers are no DDs but DDGs, like the KIDD class.

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