US Navy Extends Service Life of Lead Arleigh Burke Destroyer

The US Navy has approved a five-year life extension program for its lead Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG 51).

The decision follows a request for additional service time in 2022, as the USS Arleigh Burke was scheduled to retire in 2026 after 35 years in service.

Under the program, the vessel’s operability will be extended until 2031.

The USS Arleigh Burke sails as part of the US Sixth Fleet, which has been in Africa since 2005. The destroyer was deployed to the area in 2021 and is now on its third patrol.

“DDG 51’s are the best warships in history. They demonstrate that there are no limits to what we can accomplish with a strong American Navy-industrial partnership,” US Naval Surface Force Atlantic Commander Rear Adm. Brendan McLane stated.

“Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of the Navy’s surface fleet and critical to the Nation and the Navy today and long into the future.”

US Navy DDG Modernization

Arleigh Burke’s life extension will be conducted under a DDG modernization program, providing a “comprehensive” mid-life upgrade for the destroyers.

The class-wide revamp ensures the vessels have the latest terminal defense and long-range weapons.

The guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) steams through the Persian Gulf April 15, 2014. The Arleigh Burke was underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II/Released)
USS Arleigh Burke. Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II/US Navy

Around 37 upgrades have already been completed or are in progress under the effort, while 17 additional modernizations are planned in the coming years.

“The modernization changes are also being introduced to new construction ships to increase the baseline capabilities of the newest ships in the class, and to provide commonality between new construction ships and modernized in-service ships,” the US Navy said.

“The goal of the DDG modernization effort is to increase warfighting capabilities and drive commonality, which enable these ships to remain relevant, to their service life, against current and future threats.”

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