US shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works officially started construction work on its first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer for the US Navy with a ceremony in Maine, on March 3.
The future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126) will be the first Arleigh Burke-class destroyer built in the Flight III configuration at BIW.
Huntington Ingalls Industries, the other builder of US Navy destroyers, laid the keel for its first Flight III ship, the future Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), in early November 2019.
Flight III destroyers will have improved capability and capacity to perform anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense in support of the integrated air and missile defense mission. The Flight III design contains modifications to enable the SPY-6 radar, in association with Aegis Baseline 10, which includes larger electronically scanned arrays. The ships will also feature improved power generation and cooling capabilities required to operate the powerful new radar.
DDG 126 honors Marine Corps General Louis Hugh Wilson, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and combat tactics in the Battle of Guam in 1944. During a prolonged firefight with Japanese forces, Wilson led Marines under his command across rugged terrain to secure a strategic objective. Despite being wounded three times, Wilson and his men defended their position for more than 10 hours of combat. The following day, Wilson led a 17-man patrol to capture, secure, and hold a second position.
“This is a tremendous occasion as we mark the start of construction on BIW’s first Flight III Arleigh Burke class destroyer.” said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “General Wilson embodied the spirit of our nation in his will to protect his fellow Marines and countrymen. What better way to honor him than to build a highly capable warship that advances our Navy’s ability to protect and defend our Nation.”
BIW is currently in production on the future Arleigh Burke class destroyers Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124), and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), as well as the Zumwalt class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).