US Navy Receives 65eme Destroyer from Arleigh Burke Class

The March 24 2018, the US Navy took possession of the destroyer USS Ralph Johnson, the 65th unit of the Burke class, and the third and last unit of the DDG51 Flight IIA version which marked the resumption of production of the Burke after the abandonment of the Zumwalt destroyers project beyond the 3 units already ordered. The US Navy will receive 2 destroyers of this class this year, and this pace has been confirmed by FYID. The next unit will be the first of the new Flight III standard, of which around ten units have already been ordered. 

The Burkes will gradually replace both some of the Ticonderoga cruisers and the first units of the class which entered service 30 years ago. They integrate the AEGIS anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system, as well as cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, ASW torpedoes and two helicopters.

The surface fleet is no exception to the situation plaguing the American armed forces, which do not have new generation programs to replace their equipment, and which are therefore forced to modernize equipment designed in the 80s. These 20 In recent years, the US Navy will have developed two classes of surface combatant ships: the Zumwalt class destroyers, whose construction was abandoned beyond the third unit, and the Littoral Combat Ship, whose unit price is equal to that of a frigate, without having either the performance or the nautical qualities, and with very limited firepower.

Certain of its technological and numerical superiority throughout the 2000s and 2010s, the US Navy has found itself for several years without a solution to counter the rise in power of the Chinese fleet, otherwise perfectly controlled. In fact, over the last 5 years, it has put into service around twenty Type 052 destroyers roughly equivalent to the Burkes, around thirty 4500-ton Type 054 frigates, and around forty Type 056 coastal corvettes and ASMs, or almost a hundred units. where the US Navy will have only received around twenty.

It is in the face of this observation, but also in the face of the strong return of the Russian fleet, more specifically of its submarine marinade, that the US Navy General Staff undertook to return to fundamentals, by relaunching manufacturing in series of A.Burke destroyers, and by launching the FFG/X program of new generation frigates with 20 units to be produced in 7 years, in the ranks of which the Italian Fincantieri is offering the Franco-Italian Fremm.

However, China, like Russia, continues to strengthen its naval production. Thus, next year should see the delivery of the first 3 to 4 Chinese Type 055 heavy destroyers of 13.000 tonnes, carrying 124 missile silos, while continuing to produce Type 052/54/56 at a high rate. The Russian Navy, for its part, should receive around fifteen new nuclear and conventional attack submarines by 2025, as well as around twenty surface combatant units, including seven heavy 7-ton super Gorshov frigates.

In fact, and despite the American reaction, the gap between the US Navy and the Chinese and Russian Navies should continue to narrow in the years to come. According to current projections, the Chinese Navy is expected to even exceed the tonnage of the United States Navy by 2035. 

And yet, the US Navy still has no program to replace the A. Burke class…

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