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U.S. Navy launches first Flight III guided missile destroyer

The future Jack H. Lucas, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer was successfully launched Friday at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries
The future Jack H. Lucas, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer was successfully launched Friday at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries

June 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy launched the first of it's Flight III guided missile destroyers, the future Jack H. Lucas, the branch announced on Monday.

The DDG 51 Arleigh-Burke-class Flight III destroyer successfully launched Friday at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss., U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command said in a statement.

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The vessel's keel was laid in a ceremony in November 2019 to mark the start of its construction. The Jack H. Lucas is the first of the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class, and the first to receive scores of upgrades planned for the ships.

The Flight III upgrade to the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers provides enhanced warfighting capability to the fleet, including the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air radar array to improve visibility and missile defense, which Raytheon delivered last summer, and other upgrades to the electrical power and cooling capacity, according to the Navy.

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"Flight III ships will provide cutting edge Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability to include significantly greater detection range and tracking capacity," Arleigh Burke-class Program Manager Capt. Seth Miller said in the statement.

"Launching the first Flight III ship, the future Jack H. Lucas, is another important step to delivering Flight III to the Navy," Miller said.

The Arleigh-Burke class is a multirole destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System, an advanced air defense and radar network, and is designed to operate against air, surface and subsurface threats.

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Flight III is the fourth Flight upgrade in the 30-plus year history of the Arleigh Burke-class, following the Flight I, II and IIA ships.

HII is currently constructing four other Arleigh Burke-class ships, including the future Frank E. Petersen Jr., the Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee in the Flight IIA configuration, and the future Ted Stevens and Jeremiah Denton as Flight III ships, the statement said.

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