History of American Destroyers

The US Navy (USN) Destroyer USS SPRUANCE (DD 963) cruises the Atlantic Ocean preparing for an early underway replenishment as part of COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE (CJTF) Exercise.

USS Spruance (DD 963) cruises the Atlantic Ocean.

On Nov. 24, 1902, a new era in U.S. Navy history began as its first destroyer, USS Bainbridge (DD 1), was commissioned. Bainbridge was actually a torpedo boat destroyer. She was 250 feet in length, displaced 420 tons and had a top speed of 29 knots. She carried a crew of 75.

The Naval Act of 1916 authorized 50 destroyers built over a three year period. Less than a year later, the first U.S. warships reached the European theater at Queenstown, Ireland, to join the fight against Germany during World War I.

In 1941, the US Navy began building a fleet of large destroyers known as the Fletcher class. It was designed to rival the Japanese “special type” destroyers that entered service more than a decade before. A total of 175 were built from June 1942 to February 1945. The Fletcher-class is regarded by many historians as the signature destroyer of World War II.

Other WWII destroyer classes included the Allen M. Sumner and Gearing class. These three classes dominated the Navy’s destroyer force for 25 years.

Beginning in the 1950s, new destroyer-type construction began appearing in two sizes, with purpose-built anti-submarine (ASW) ocean escorts forming a third line of evolution. Of the smaller destroyers, the first to be commissioned were eighteen ships of the 2,780-ton Forrest Sherman class. These “last gunships” introduced a main armament of three 5-inch/54 caliber rapid fire guns on an enlarged hull.
PACIFIC OCEAN (May 18, 2011) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) are underway in the Pacific Ocean. Kidd and Pinkney are part of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and are participating in a composite training unit exercise off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda K. McCall/Released)

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) underway in the Pacific Ocean.

The first destroyer built by Ingalls, the Forrest Sherman-class USS Morton (DD 948), was delivered to the Navy on May 14, 1959. Production on the DDs continued until 1983.

On July 4, 1991, the Navy commissioned its first-in-class Aegis guided missile destroyer USSArleigh Burke (DDG 51). Ingalls delivered the second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USSBarry (DDG 52), in October 1992. The Arleigh Burke destroyers are still regarded as the US Navy’s most powerful and advanced surface warship. Production on these destroyers continues today at Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Since the delivery of USS Barry, Ingalls has continued to build Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for the U.S. Navy. Drawing upon “lessons learned” from each ship, Ingalls continually improves its shipbuilding process in the areas of safety, quality, cost and schedule. Twenty-eight Ingalls-built destroyers are in active service. DDG 113 and DDG 114 are currently under construction, and Ingalls was recently awarded a multi-year contract for five more.

Ingalls Shipbuilding Wins U.S Navy Contract to Build Five DDG 51 Destroyers

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 31, 2013) The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) transits the Pacific Ocean. William P. Lawrence is part of the Nimitz Strike Group Surface Action Group and is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Carla Ocampo/Released)Ingalls Shipbuilding has been awarded a fixed-price incentive, multiyear contract for construction of five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG 51s) for the U.S. Navy. The contract, announced today, has a total value of $3.33 billion and includes options for engineering change proposals, design budgeting requirements and post-delivery availabilities, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to approximately $3.39 billion.

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Timeline

Nov. 24, 1902: The U.S. Navy’s first destroyer, USSBainbridge, is commissioned.

Aug. 29, 1916: Congress approved President Woodrow Wilson’s request for to build a navy equal to any in the world. The Naval Act of 1916 authorized 50 destroyers built over a three year period.

Sep. 2, 1940: An agreement between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill led to the transfer of 50 World War I destroyers to the Royal Navy. The destroyers were requested to help combat German U-boats. In return, the U.S. was given 99-year leases to British bases in Bermuda, Newfoundland and the West Indies.

1941: The US Navy began building a fleet of large destroyers known as the Fletcher class, its first design to rival the Japanese “special type” destroyers that had first entered service more than a decade before. A total of 175 were built from June 1942 to February 1945.

May 14, 1959: Ingalls delivers its first destroyer, the Forrest Sherman-class USS Morton (DD 948), to the U.S. Navy

October 1992: Ingalls delivers the U.S. Navy’s second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Barry (DDG 52)

Sept. 3, 2012: The first cut of steel was made for USS John Finn (DDG 113) in Pascagoula, marking Ingalls’ return to the DDG 51 program.