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The OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class guided missile frigates are Undersea Warfare ships with an added anti-air warfare capability intended to provide open-ocean escort of amphibious ships and convoys in low to moderate threat environments. The ships are equipped to escort and protect carrier battle groups, amphibious landing groups, underway replenishment groups and convoys. They can also conduct independent operations to perform such tasks as counterdrug surveillance, maritime interception operations, and exercises with other nations.

The addition of NTDS, LAMPS helicopters, and the Tactical Towed Array System (TACTAS) has given these ships a combat capability far beyond the class program expectations of the mid-1970's, and has made the ships an integral and valued asset in virtually any war-at-sea scenario and particularly well suited for operation in the littoral.

The Navy's fleet of PERRY - class guided missile frigates will remain in the fleet well into the second decade of the 21st century. The most capable FFG 7s will be retained the longest. The primary mission of the ships will remain antisubmarine warfare and escort.

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While the guided missile frigates bring an anti-air warfare (AAW) capability to the frigate mission, they have some limitations: The FFG 7 - class has a good capability against (2 or less) medium and high altitude ASMs. If equipped with the SM-1 BLK VIB and Mod 6 FCS, it also has a good capability against low altitude ASMs. It features an improved 2D air search radar, and high SM-1 salvo rate against a single target. However, the cycle time for SM-1 is relatively long, and the capability against low ASMs for Mod 2/SM-1 BLK VIA ships is poor. Radar illuminator blockage zones are excessive, and the radars must illuminate target continuously during missile flight. The long range air search radar is 2D, and track capacity is limited.

Designed as cost effective surface combatants, they lack the multi-mission capability of modern surface combatants faced with multiple, high technology threats. The PERRY class guided missile frigates were originally fitted with Raytheon's AN/SLQ-32(V)2, a self-defence electronic support measures (ESM) system offering limited frequency-cover and questionable security. The SLQ-32 antennas in a PERRY are carried at about 50ft above the waterline, providing an intercept range of only 23nm. Following the Iraqi air-launched Exocet attack on the USS STARK (FFG 31) on May 17, 1987, it was decided to upgrade the (V)2 installation by adding a jammer codenamed "Sidekick". The new variant was later designated SLQ-32(V)5, and to date a number of (V)2s have been brought to the new standard, including most but not all the PERRYs.

The class has only a limited capacity for further growth. Despite this, the FFG 7 class is a robust platform, capable of withstanding considerable damage. This "toughness" was aptly demonstrated when USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) struck a mine and USS STARK was hit by two Exocet cruise missiles. In both cases the ships survived, were repaired and have returned to the fleet.

Because of numerous new systems installed aboard, displacements have steadily increased, to the detriment of stability. USS KAUFFMAN (FFG 59) was delivered at 4,100 tons full load, although the class was designed for 3,600 tons and with only 39 tons planned growth margin. Because of a hull twisting problem, doubler plates have been added over the hull sides amidships just below the main deck. Speed on one turbine alone is 25 knots. The auxiliary power system uses two retractable pods located well forward and can drive the ships at up to 6 knots. Fin stabilizers began to be backfitted in earlier units, beginning with USS GALLERY (FFG 26), in 1982.

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The Navy developed the FFG 7 - class using the minimal manning concept. This concept has a profound effect on engineering organization. Supervisors must accomplish all tasks with fewer people than larger ships. Below decks, two gas turbine engines (similar the engines on the wings of a DC 10) provide power for propulsion that enables the ships to reach speeds in excess of 25 knots. Gas turbine engines are more cost effective than steam or diesel propulsion ships. These advanced propulsion units allow a ship to get underway quickly and rapidly change operating modes. The propulsion plant as well as the electrical power plant is computer controlled and monitored to ensure a smooth running and efficient system. The gas turbine engines can be started and be ready to come up to full power in five minutes. This quick reaction time allows the ship to be more maneuverable and reduces the preparation time to get underway.

These ships are particularly well protected against splinter and fragmentation damage, with 19-mm aluminum-alloy armor over magazine spaces, 16-mm steel over the main engine-control room, and 19-mm Kevlar plastic armor over vital electronics and command spaces.

The combat system employed a new computerized command and decision system that was fully integrated with the ship's sensors and weapons. Two computers provide rapid evaluation of potential threats detected by her radar and sonar suite; and surface-to-air missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, a 76mm rapid fire gun, anti-submarine torpedoes, and the embarked LAMPS helicopter can be employed quickly and effectively to counter potential threats that may come from any air, surface, or subsurface platforms.

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About the Equipment:

Aboard the PERRY - class guided missile frigates the Mk 92 Mod 4 fire-control system controls missile and 76-mm gunfire; it uses a STIR (modified SPG-60) antenna amidships and a U.S.-built version of the Hollandse Signaal Apparaaten WM-28 radar forward and can track four separate targets. The ships have the Mk 13 weapons-direction system. The Mk 92 system was updated in three stages; the first, given trials in USS STEPHEN W. GROVES (FFG 29) in 1983, was backfitted to all by 1984 as the "Near-Term Improvement", and included the capability to employ SM-1 MR Block VI missiles.

Phase II (Mk 92 CORT) began trials in USS ESTOCIN (FFG 15) in 1986. The CORT (Coherent Receiver Transmitter) Phase-II upgrade to the Mk 92 weapons-control system improved performance in jamming and clutter. The Navy upgraded the Mk 92 Mod 2 system to the Mod 6 system, along with upgrades to radars and processors on 12 frigates. The search radar was upgraded to SPS-49(V)5, and the SYS-2(V)2 integrated action data system was added. As of 1993, FFG 36, 50, 51, and 57 had received CORT, and FFG 61 was completed with it; FFG 47, 48, 52-55, and 59 had it by end of 1995. The weight and cost of CORT, however, are considerable, and plans for further conversions were canceled. The Mk 92 Mod 6 CORT ships were also planned to receive RAM point-defense missile launchers, but that upgrade has also been canceled. The Navy plans to upgrade the self-defense capability of the 12 CORT PERRY - class frigates by installing the Phalanx Block 1B.

Ten other units of the class received the CAN-DO (Commercial-off-the-shelf Affordable Near-term Deficiency-correcting Ordalts) upgrade to the Mk 92 Mod 2 fire-control system, incorporating improved clutter rejection in the radars, automatic target track display, and further improvements to the SPS-49(V)4 radar to detect small radar-cross-section targets over land and in severe clutter conditions.

In 1994, the self-defense configuration for the OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class frigates included the SPS-49 radar, the STIR/CAS system, and the SLQ-32 electronic support system. The MK 92 performed the control function. Engagement systems consisted of the Standard Missile I variant and the Phalanx Block 0 or 1.

Since 1994, ship self-defense capability improvements have consisted of the installation of RAIDS. In 1998, the Navy had assessed the ship self-defense capability of this class as having low capability against the near- and mid-term threat requirements. Although there are 36 ships in this class, the Navy has focused its attention for ship self-defense improvements on the 12 CORT ships, which have improved detection and tracking capability. Accordingly, only the 12 CORT ships received the RAIDS system. Additionally, some of the CORT ships have received radar and electronic warfare upgrades. Additionally, the Navy plans to add Phalanx Block 1B to the 12 CORT ships by July 2002. The non-CORT ships were not assessed because of their short remaining service life.

The Mk 75 gun is a license-built version of the OTOBreda Compact. Two Mk 24 optical missile and gun target designators (mounted in tubs atop the pilothouse) were not fitted to the ships as completed until USS MAHLON S. TISDALE (FFG 27) and have been backfitted in the earlier ships. The only ship-launched USW weapons are the Mk 46 or Mk 50 torpedoes in the two triple torpedo tubes; a total of 24 torpedoes can be carried, but ships with magazines altered to accept the larger Mk 50 can also carry the Penguin anti-ship missile for helicopter use, for the loss of one torpedo for each missile carried.

The Mk 15 CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) 20-mm Phalanx CIWS was backfitted into all by end-1988; the improved Mk 15 Block 1 is to be backfitted in the later 1990s.

USS INGRAHAM (FFG 61) incorporates all of the changes once planned for backfit to earlier ships and is considered the first Baseline 8' unit; she has integrated radar sensors (with the SYS-2(V)2 Integrated Action Data System), Mk 92 Mod 6 CORT weapon-control system, integrated EW suite, and integrated SPS-49(V)5 and SPS-55 radars. FFG 36-60 have the integrated EW suite, the SQQ-89 sonar suite, and Links 11 and 14. FFG 8-35 had non-integrated SLQ-32(V)2 and Mk 92 Mod 2 FCS. All were planned to be backfitted with the Sidekick active adjunct to the SLQ-32(V)2 EW system; FFG 29, 30, 54, 55 and several others had the antennas by mid-1992. A few ships have been given Furuno-made navigational radars. All have SSR-1 and WSC-3 SATCOM equipment.

The units with long hulls (FFG 7, 8, 15, 28, 29, 32, 36-61) were to have had the sonar suite upgraded to SQQ-89(V)2, with SQS-56 hull sonar retained, SQR-19 towed linear passive hydrophone array added, and SQQ-28 helicopter sonobuoy datalink system added. There were, however, significant delays in the development of the SQQ-89ís processor equipment, and many ships received the SQR-18A towed array with SQR-17 processor as an interim fit. USS McINERNEY (FFG 8) received the towed array during FY 87, along with FFG 55-60; in FY 88, FFG 28, 29, 32, 36, and 39 were equipped; in FY 90, FFG 7 and 15 received the system during overhauls (FFG 7 was lengthened and received the SQQ-89 suite but was not equipped with RAST, leaving her unable to employ SH-60B helicopters); under the FY 91 budget, FFG 9, 48-50, and 52 were modified, and in FY 92, FFG 20 and 51 were equipped. FFG 12 is unusual in having the electronics fit for the LAMPS III system and in having the towed sonar array but not having had the hull extension to permit flying SH-60B LAMPS-III helicopters. As of 1997, two variants of the SQQ-89 sonar system were in service on this class: SQQ-89(V)10 on FFG 14, 30, 34, 37, 50, 51, 52, and 54, with SQR-19B(V)2 towed array sonar; and SQQ-89(V)2 on FFG 7-9, 11-13, 15, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36, 38-43, 45-49, 53, 55-59, and 61, with SQR-19(V)2 and the UYQ-25A(V)2 processor.

In 2003, the Navy started to remove the Mk-13 guided missile launchers from the remaining PERRY - class frigates. This action was designed to reduce the ships' operating cost but leaves the PERRYs without the ability to fire guided missiles. The Navy explained the decision with the age of the Mk-13 system and the system's ineffectivness against high-speed cruise missiles. The ships will receive an upgrade to the Phalanx system and a new missile decoy system to compensate the loss of their guided missile capabilities.

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Design work for the PERRY - class started in the early 1970s. These ships were originally conceived as a low-cost convoy escort (hence the original "PF" (Patrol Frigate) hull number for the prototype). In mid-1975, the PERRY -class ship were re-classified as FFGs (guided Missile Frigates).

The ships were completely developed by the US Navy and later awarded for construction to the two lowest bidding shipyards - Bath Iron Works and Todd. Construction went on in time and sometimes even ahead of schedule.

The first PERRY - class ships were commissioned without the SQS-56 Sonar because production of the system started too late so that it was not yet available during the construction of the ships.

Originally to be 75 in number, a total of 55 FFG 7 OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class ships were built, including 51 for the US Navy and four for the Royal Australian Navy. Australia subsequently built a further ship of this design at a very high cost. Spain also built to this design and a modified design was built in Taiwan (the Cheng Kung Class).

Early in their operational lives, ships of the FFG 7 - class began to develop serious cracking in the superstructure, which extended from side-to-side and for approximately 70% of the length. These cracks were serious in that they could extend down into the hull portion of the ship and provided a way for water to flood important weapons system spaces. Detailed inspections were made, analyses undertaken, and model-scale tests conducted. Fixes compatible with the entire class were developed and installed. Tests were conducted at sea and were found to be satisfactory; further fixes were then carried out on all ships of the FFG 7 - class.

The PERRY - class ships were produced in two variants, known as "short-hull" and "long-hull", with the later variant being eight feet longer than the short-hull version. The long-hull ships [FFG 8, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36-61] carry the SH-60B LAMPS III helicopters, while the short-hull units carry the less-capable SH-2G. The reason for the two variants was the late introduction of the SH-60B helicopters. When the PERRYs were designed, LAMPS III was not yet tested and one did not know how the new helicopter would approach the ship for landing. Therefore, the first 26 ship in the PERRY - class were completed in SH-2G configuration. When it became obvious that the SH-60B would not approach the ship sideward like the SH-2G but directly from astern, the remaining ships of the class were completed with an 8-feet long hull extension astern of the flight deck. In late 1980, the first sea trials of an SH-60B aboard a PERRY - class guided missile frigate took place aboard the previously modified USS McINERNEY (FFG 8). In 1978, a 1:1 SH-60B scale model was used for testing aboard USS OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (FFG 7).

Although the ships were intended to operate the LAMPS III ASW helicopter, FFG 7-35, as completed, lacked the equipment necessary to handle them. Beginning with the FY79 ships (FFG 36 and later), helicopter support equipment was aboard on completion: fin stabilizers, RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure, and Traverse system-not fitted as completed until FFG 50), and other systems. The RAST system permits helicopter launch and recovery with the ship rolling through 28 degrees and pitching 5 degrees. The equipment was first installed in MCINERNEY (FFG 8), which was reconstructed, in 1981 at Bath Iron Works, to act as LAMPS III/SH-60B Seahawk helicopter trials ship.

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Ship's NameHull NumberVariant
OLIVER HAZARD PERRYFFG 7"short hull" (later lengthened)
McINERNEYFFG 8"long hull"
WADSWORTHFFG 9"short hull"
DUNCANFFG 10"short hull"
CLARKFFG 11"short hull"
GEORGE PHILIPFFG 12"short hull"
SIDESFFG 14"short hull"
ESTOCINFFG 15"short hull"
JOHN A. MOOREFFG 19"short hull"
ANTRIMFFG 20"short hull"
FLATLEYFFG 21"short hull"
FAHRIONFFG 22"short hull"
LEWIS B. PULLERFFG 23"short hull"
JACK WILLIAMSFFG 24"short hull"
COPELANDFFG 25"short hull"
GALLERYFFG 26"short hull"
MAHLON S. TISDALEFFG 27"short hull"
BOONEFFG 28"long Hull"
REIDFFG 30"short Hull"
STARKFFG 31"short hull"
JOHN L. HALLFFG 32"long Hull"
JARRETTFFG 33"long Hull"
AUBREY FITCHFFG 34"short hull"
UNDERWOODFFG 36"long Hull"
CROMMELINFFG 37"long Hull"
CURTSFFG 38"long Hull"
DOYLEFFG 39"long Hull"
McCLUSKYFFG 41"long Hull"
KLAKRINGFFG 42"long Hull"
THACHFFG 43"long Hull"
DE WERTFFG 45"long Hull"
RENTZFFG 46"long Hull"
NICHOLASFFG 47"long Hull"
TAYLORFFG 50"long Hull"
GARYFFG 51"long Hull"
CARRFFG 52"long Hull"
HAWESFFG 53"long Hull"
FORDFFG 54"long Hull"
ELRODFFG 55"long Hull"
SIMPSONFFG 56"long Hull"
KAUFFMANFFG 59"long Hull"
RODNEY M. DAVISFFG 60"long Hull"
INGRAHAMFFG 61"long Hull"

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General Characteristics - Oliver Hazard Perry class
Builder:Todd Pacific Shipyards Co. (San Pedro, Ca. and Seattle, Wash.) and Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Power Plant:two General Electric LM 2500 gas turbines, two 350 Horsepower Electric Drive Auxiliary Propulsion Units
Length:"Short Hull": 445 feet (133.5 meters)
"Long Hull": 453 feet (135.9 meters)
Beam:45 feet (13.5 meters)
Draft:24,6 feet (7.5 meters)
Displacement:"Long Hull": approx. 4,100 tons
Speed:28+ knots
Range:4,200 nm @ 20 kts
5,000 nm @ 18 kts
Ship's Fuel Capacity:587 tons
Aviation Fuel Capacity:64 tons
Crew:13 Officers and 287 Enlisted
NRF: 83 Active, 76 TAR, 57 SELRES
Armament:one Mk 13 Mod. 4 guided missile launcher (36 Standard MR and 4 Harpoon missiles)
one Mk 75 76mm/62 caliber rapid firing gun
MK 32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts)
one Phalanx CIWS
Sensors:AN/SPS-49 Air Search Radar
AN/SPS-55 Surface Search Radar
Mk92 Fire Control System
AN/SLQ-32 Electronics Warfare System
AN/SQS-56 Sonar
Mk36 SRBOC Decoy System
AN/SQR-19 Towed Array Sonar System
AN/SQQ-89 ASW Integration System
Aircraft:"Short Hull": one SH-2F (LAMPS 1)
"Long Hull": two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3)
Date deployed:December 17, 1977 (USS Oliver Hazard Perry)

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