Do the earliest Arleigh Burke-class destroyers nonetheless have legs? The US Navy thinks so.

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Between 1991, when the Navy commissioned the USS Arleigh Burke, and 1998, when it commissioned the USS Mahan, the service constructed the category at a tempo of three per yr. Now, as these ships are bearing down on their 35-year anticipated hull life, the Navy needs to develop its fleet, however it lacks the price range and capability to modernize these first 21 ships to the newest configurations.

So whereas the fleet will attempt to maintain them round so long as potential, it should get inventive in its problem-solving strategy, mentioned Vice Adm. James Kilby, the Navy’s prime necessities officer.

“We built our DDGs faster than we can modernize given the budget today,” Kilby mentioned in a digital Q&A on the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium. “So we made a decision some years ago, they leave 21 ships in their current state and continue to work on them but not modernize them in the [latest Aegis] configuration. I have [the surface warfare director, Rear Adm. Paul Schlise], working on a number of things that we want to keep relevant for as long as possible, and I think they will be relevant for a long time.”

The service is exploring utilizing the primary 21 Flight I DDGs as a platform for a brand new form of UAV, Kilby mentioned.

While Kilby didn’t supply specifics on the brand new drone, getting sensors aloft and bettering the united statessurface fleet’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities shall be a precedence within the coming years because it faces off towards a rising Chinese fleet.

The strategy, Kilby mentioned, will contain doing as a lot because the Navy can to maintain the ships working and related, even when they will’t get the complete overhaul wanted to be introduced as much as present-day requirements.

“We need to keep those ships because they do add considerable value to us, even if we can’t afford to modernize them because it’s too costly or too lengthy to put them in an overhaul,” Kilby mentioned. “We need them operating in the fleet.”

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