Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers published by Classic Warship Publishing once again proves that Steve Wiper is as good in presenting a modern topic as he is in presenting a World War Two subject. This volume is written by Kurt Greiner, edited by Steve and is Warship Pictorial #24. The volume just came out in September 2006 and so is very up to date in text and photographic coverage. The title is 72 pages in length, plus color colors, and provides one stop coverage in all things Arleigh Burke. This volume is a gold mine of information on the history and variants of this large class.

I received the new Dragon Premium Edition kits for the 1:700 scale USS Pinkney DDG91 and 1:350 scale USS Momsen DDG92. Since both kits are Flight IIA Arleigh Burke destroyers, I was going through my library looking for material on the class. I had some references but for modern topics, coverage can be slim. Then the postman delivered this title and I needed no other source. With the Classic volume I quickly determined areas in which the modeler can improve the DML kits. Even though these are the most modern class of USN destroyer and have a limited battle history, Kurt Greiner provides an excellent technical history and capabilities analysis. In case you are not familiar with the class there are a number of variants. Flight I ships are DDG-51 through DDG-71 and have a flight deck and harpoon missile canisters but no hangar. Flight II ships are DDG-72 through DDG-78 and upgraded the electronics fit in the ships. Flight IIA ships are DDG-79 through the most current DDG-106 adds two hangars at the rear, deletes the Harpoons, deleted a loading crane to add six VLS cells forward, are six feet longer and have the aft facing SPY-1D Aegis arrays one deck higher than the earlier ships. Although not given a specific variant number there are further sub-variants within the Flight IIA ships. Starting with DDG-81 an angular 5-Inch/62 mount replaced the rounded 5-inch/54 and the difference in the mount design is very pronounced. Starting with DDG-89 the class added a quad pack ESSM in the VLS and deleted the CIWS. Starting with DDG-91 a mine-hunting hangar was added to the starboard aft superstructure with the RIB storage rearranged. There are other changes within the class, such as the shape of the Nixie openings. Location of Mk50 ASW torpedo mounts, and deletion of the stack exhaust rings for a flat stack top. How does a modeler know what ships carry which features? Simple, get a copy of Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers.

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An itemized breakdown of the title reflects that the 72 pages are arranged as follows. Page one is the title page and pages two through five have text coverage on the class. Also starting on page five is the beginning of the exhaustive photographic coverage of the ships. Of course this is the hallmark of the Classic Warship Publishing series. Pages five through 67 contain 119 very clear and informative photographs of the various ships of the class. The volume includes a number of beautiful color photographs and informative descriptive text for each photograph. Pages 68 and 69 provide line profiles, plans and details of USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51 Flight I on one page and USS Oscar Austin DDG-79 Flight IIA on the next page. The drawings are by Duane Curtis and are in 1:700 scale. Page 70 contains detailed shipís specifications and a list of all of the ships in the class. Page 71 is an advertisement for Kurt Greinerís SeaPhoto web-site (www.warshipphotos.com) and page 72 has a bibliography.

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Verdict
If you are building a model of an Arleigh Burke destroyer or wish to add a superb reference on the class to your library, then Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers published by Classic Warship Publishing and written by Kurt Greiner is a must.

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