USS Hopper

Flight II Arleigh Burke Class Missile Destroyer

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By Rob Mackie

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Now includes Bill Abbott's pics of
USS Arleigh Burke DDG 51


Excellent kits of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer are available.  The  1/700 Skywave Arleigh Burke is outstanding.  In 1:350 scale there is the excellent Blue Water Navy kit, which can be built either waterline or full hull and includes extensive etched brass.

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Check out this amazing photo of a Burke class destroyer firing its 5" gun

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USS Arleigh Burke

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Burke class destroyers, named after the US Navy’s most famous destroyer commander, Arleigh "31 knot" Burke, are the culmination of U.S. destroyer development. Designed around the state-of-the-art Aegis phased array system also used in Ticonderoga class cruisers, Burke class destroyers are unquestionably the most futuristic appearing warships afloat. Oblique angles and off-vertical bulkheads are everywhere. The absence of external right angles is intended to reduce the radar signature..

Aegis phased array electronics (easily identified by the four prominent octagonal sensors on the sides of the forward superstructure) enables these destroyers to track scores of targets at once. The missile armament is carried in fore and aft VLS ("Vertical Launch System") cells armed with 64 Tomahawk, anti-air, and ASROC missles. Gun armament consists of a 5" mount forward and two rapid fire CIWS ("Close In Weapons System") six barrel 20mm cannons. There is a helipad aft and the ships carry a full array of submarine detection systems. The lack of a hangar prevents the ship from carrying its own helicopter, a curious omission. Later ships in the series, designated "Flight 2A", will have helicopter storage facilities.

First entering service in 1991, there are now 21 commissioned Arleigh Burke class destroyers and 10 under construction. Propulsion is via gas turbines and steel is used throughout for better survivability, the US Navy having learned from the Royal Navy’s experience in the Falklands. These are not small ships by any means. They displace 8,500 tons and measure 504 feet x 67 feet, equal to a WW2 era cruiser. But the streamlined 21st century lines set these ships apart from other warships. Nothing else afloat resembles an Arleigh Burke class destroyer.


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