The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Arleigh Burke deployed on Thursday to its new home port of Rota, Spain. Photo by MCS2 Brittany Cannady/U.S. Navy
March 26 (UPI) -- The destroyer USS Arleigh Burke deployed from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Friday for its new home port of Rota, Spain, the Navy announced.
The ship, commissioned in 1991 as the first of its class, carries AEGIS Weapons Systems and the latest AEGIS Baseline 9 upgrades.
It will be one of four Forward Deployed Naval Forces ships serving with the Sixth Fleet, joining the USS Ross, the USS Roosevelt and the USS Porter in FDNF Rota, and replacing the USS Donald Cook, which will also have a new home port at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
Prior to deployment, the USS Arleigh Burke was one of five ships involved in a Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPUTEX, of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit that concluded this week.
The month-long exercise is "designed to fully integrate a strike group as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force, and test the group's ability to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea," the Navy said Thursday in a press release.
"Upon completion of COMPTUEX, Arleigh Burke is certified and ready to execute the full spectrum of maritime operations in any theater," the Navy said.
The ship, with enhanced capabilities, is now regarded as effective in high-threat, anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface operations.
"As the nation's crisis response force, the ARG-MEU team must remain ready to respond at a moment's notice when crises arise," Col. Eric D. Cloutier, commanding officer of the 24th MEU, said of the COMPTUEX.
"This exercise gave our team the opportunity to train how we fight across a range of military operations, providing a force-in-readiness to the fleet that is prepared to decisively engage when called upon," said Cloutier.
The four destroyers of the FDNF recently acquired the self-contained SeaRAM Rolling Airframe Missile launcher system.
It was installed to improve the destroyers' defenses against advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, as well as an upgraded SEWIP Block II electronic warfare suite.