The guided-missile destroyer Arleigh Burke, the first of its kind, looked like it was about to retire after decades of duty.
The warship, which was commissioned in 1991, may have begun planning its shadowbox recently in anticipation of reaching the end of its anticipated 35-year service life in fiscal 2026.
Nevertheless, Big Navy has other ideas.
Last week, Naval Surface Force Atlantic made the announcement that the Arleigh Burke will remain in service until fiscal 2031, when it will turn 40.
A plan to prolong the service lifetimes of the Navy's complete fleet of destroyers was abandoned in 2020, and SURFLANT officials stated that any decision to extend the lives of more destroyers would be made on a hull-by-hull basis.
According to SURFLANT spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer in an email, "(Arleigh Burke) was evaluated and approved for extra service life based on the lethality she delivers as a result of the DDG Modernization program and a thorough assessment of her material condition and adherence to class maintenance plans.
According to him, the fleet now has 71 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 18 more are under contract, and 11 more are in various stages of construction.
In a statement announcing Arleigh Burke's life extension, SURFLANT commander Rear Adm. Brendan McLane stated that DDG 51s are the best warships in history. The core of the Navy's surface fleet is comprised of destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class.
The DDG modernization program of the Navy offers mid-life modifications to ensure that the entire class may stay in service for a longer period of time while flaunting "the newest long-range weapons and terminal defense capabilities," according to a military statement. Ships currently being built are also incorporating these modernizing modifications.
After 30 years of service, Arleigh Burke moved from Norfolk, Virginia, to Rota, Spain, where it is now forward-deployed for the U.S. 6th Fleet, which is based in Europe.
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