The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is underway to conduct comprehensive at-sea testing, marking a significant step in her return to warfighting readiness. The ship departed Huntington Ingalls Industries-Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Pascagoula shipyard at approximately 6:30 a.m. (CDT) to conduct a series of demonstrations to evaluate that the ship’s onboard systems meet or exceed Navy performance specifications. Among the systems that will be tested are navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communications, and propulsion.
On 17 June 2017, USS Fitzgerald collided with the MV ACX Crystal cargo ship near Yokosuka, Japan. Seven sailors drowned. Following an investigation, the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer were relieved of their duties. In addition, close to a dozen sailors were given non-judicial punishment for loss of situational awareness. Repairs are expected to be complete by summer 2019. The underway reflects nearly two years’ worth of effort in restoring and modernizing one of the Navy’s most capable warships after it was damaged during a collision in 2017 that claimed the lives of seven Sailors.
Upon Fitzgerald’s return to the shipyard, crew training and certifications will commence as final work items are completed in support of the ship’s sail away later this spring. After receiving its full complement of basic and advanced phased training, as well as crew and ship certifications, the USS Fitzgerald will return to the Fleet mission-ready with the improved capability and lethality required to successfully support high-end operations. Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five systems commands. NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships, submarines and combat systems to meet the fleet’s current and future operational requirements.
The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is a United States Navy class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, an American destroyer officer in World War II, and later Chief of Naval Operations. The class leader, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke’s lifetime. With an overall length of 505 to 509 feet (154 to 155 m), displacement ranging from 8,315 to 9,200 tons, and weaponry including over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke class are larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers.