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The Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced the successful launch of the US Navy’s third Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, Ted Stevens (DDG 128), in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 15 August 2023.

During the launch process the ship is translated from a land level facility to a dry dock in preparation for floating off. 

Flight III Arleigh Burkes incorporate a number of design modifications that provide a significantly enhanced capability over the original destroyers. These include the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) and the Aegis Baseline 10 Combat System, which are designed to keep pace with threats well into the 21st century. 

The first DDG 51 destroyer, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned on 4 July 1991, meaning that the Arleigh Burke class has the longest production run of any US Navy surface combatant.

The Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer Ted Stevens (DDG 128) was launched by HII Ingalls in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 15 August 2023. (Photo: HII Ingalls)

USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) was originally intended to be the last Arleigh Burke-class destroyer procured, but in July 2008 the US Navy announced its intention to restart DDG 51 production. Seventy-two of the class are currently in active service, with 18 more planned.

The US Navy’s first Flight III destroyer, Jack H Lucas (DDG 125), was delivered by HII Ingalls in June 2023. HII Ingalls is also currently in production on future destroyers Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), George M Neal (DDG 131) and Sam Nunn (DDG 133). 

Ted Stevens is the 76th Arleigh Burkeclass ship; its name honours former US senator Ted Stevens, who served as a pilot in the Second World War and later as a US senator representing Alaska. At the time he left office in 2009 he was the longest serving Republican US senator in history.

Peter Felstead