The Arleigh Burke-class of guided missile destroyers serving the United States Navy (USN) represents a surface warfare group numbering 62 ships (75 planned as of 2013). The class is built upon the concept of balance in which speed and firepower are major qualities for the vessels can be called upon to serve anywhere in the world and tackle a variety of mission roles - air defense, offshore bombardment/missile strike, interception, anti-piracy deterrence and the like and is thusly equipped with an array of weaponry for the role. Destroyers of the USN are designed to operate either as part of the main surface fleet or independently as the situation allows.
The USS Barry (DDG-52) represents an entry into the Arleigh Burke-class of fighting ships and is named after Commodore John Barry (1745-1803), regarded as the "father of the American Navy". Barry served as an officer in the burgeoning US Navy (then known as the Continental Navy) and became its first captain of a commissioned warship. Barry served in the Revolutionary War and took part in several of its key naval battles including the Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet off of the New Jersey coast - an American victory. USS Barry was ordered on May 26th,1987 and saw her keel laid down on May 10th, 1991. She was launched on May 10th, 1991 and formally commissioned on December 12th, 1992. She makes her homeport out of Norfolk, Virginia, fights under the motto of "Strength and Diversity" and is the forth USN vessel to carry the Barry name.
Structurally, the USS Barry has been given the same conventional design as seen across the entire Arleigh Burke-class destroyer family. The is a relatively unobstructed forecastle featuring the deck gun and the forward missile cell. The bridge is located high atop the forward superstructure to which the main mast is affixed managing the requisite communications, tracking and sensor equipment. A digitally controlled Phalanx unit is ahead and below of the bridge to protect the forward quadrant of the vessel. The other installation is fitted aft overlooking the stern. The Barry is fitted with four turbine engines which requires four smoke funnels and these are carried in pairs across two low-profile, enclosed casements, one just aft of the forward superstructure and the other as part of the rear superstructure. The aft missile cell bay is just ahead of the helicopter flight deck, the latter set at the stern.
Dimensionally, the Barry features a length of 505 feet, beam of 55 feet and draught of 21 feet. She displaces at 6,900 tons under light load and 9,000 tons under full load. She is powered by 4 x General Electric LM2500-30 series gas turbines driving 2 x shafts at 100,000 horsepower. This provides the vessel with a maximum speed of 30 knots and a range of 4,400 nautical miles. The Barry is typically crewed by 280 personnel made up of senior officers, petty officers and enlisted.
The Barry is outfitted with a modern array of processing and senor equipment headed by the AN/SPY-1D 3-dimension radar system. Surface search is managed by the AN/SPS-67(V)2 and AN/SPS-73(V)12 installations. The vessel also sports anti-submarine functions in the form of an AN/SQS-53C sonar array integrated into the hull and the AN/SPS-19 Tactical Towed Array (TTA) which can be dragged behind the vessel during patrols. Anti-submarine functions are also aided by the AN/SQQ-28 "LAMPS III" system mated to its naval Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopters carried aboard. The Barry supports 1 x Sikorsky SH-60 Sea Hawk along a stern-based flight deck.
Possibly called to action against a plethora of foe types, the Barry is outfitted with an array of weaponry to suit the need. Its primary armament is a 1 x 29-cell and 1 x 61-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) missile projecting bays that support RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk and RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles. The RIM-156 SM-2 is supported by the advanced AEGIS integrated combat system and is an anti-aircraft missile which can also be used as a surface ship deterrent. The famous Tomahawk is a cruise missile which attacks land-based targets and can therefore be fired offshore against inland targets as required. The RUM-139 is an anti-submarine missile. The Barry features storage for 90 of each missile type or a combination of the three. Apart from its missile armament, the Barry also relies on more conventional gunnery led by its Mark 45 5" /54 cal (127mm) forward turreted deck gun. This is a dual-purpose system that can engage surface vessels as well as land-based targets when supporting amphibious operations. This weapon is backed by 2 x 25mm chain guns. Aerial threats (aircraft, enemy missiles) are countered through 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). Extreme point defense is handled by up to 4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. Additional anti-submarine support is provided through 2 x Mk 32 triple torpedo launchers.
Barry's career began almost immediately following commissioning as she completed her shakedown and took on her final equipment. In November of 1993, she was positioned off the coast of Haiti to enforce an arms and fuel embargo to the embattled Caribbean nation. In March of 1994, Barry took part in "MAYFLEX 94", proving her anti-capabilities sound when she engaged two in-flight Exocet anti-ship missiles utilizing her integrated onboard systems as part of a battle group. In May, Barry headed east to Mediterranean waters on her first foreign deployment ultimately taking part in UN actions during the Bosnia War. In October, she was redeployed to the Persian Gulf as a deterrent against Iraqi troop movements along the Kuwaiti border.
Following a relatively quiet period, the Barry was once again pressed into action during the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon War which required her military presence in rescuing trapped Americans in the region. The Barry served alongside the USS Gonzalez (DDG-66), another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, in ensuring safety for the Orient Queen charged with taking on American civilians.
In March of 2011, the Barry served as part of the UN resolution to protect civilian strongholds during the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Barry was able to utilize her vertical launch cells in the firing of Tomahawk cruise missiles offshore against inland Libyan targets, primarily those as related to air defense in preparation for coalition aircraft to begin their bombing campaign. The war eventually ended with the capture and death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and an uncertain future for the Libyan people.
In August of 2013, the USS Barry retained her position in the Mediterranean as the UN and United States debated on whether to commit to military action against Syrian leadership in response to the bloody civil war being waged. The situation has brought about international condemnation for use of chemical weapons by either government forces or rebel elements. The USS Barry stands with several of her sisters, two USN aircraft carriers and an unknown number of attack submarines in preparation for a possible US strike on Syrian government forces (assumed the culprit of the chemical-based rocket attacks that killed over 1,000).
As it stands, the USS Barry maintains an active presence in the United States Navy and will probably continue in an active role for some time. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is a stalwart for the USN and one of its largest group of surface warships - the perfect complement to the fleet built around aircraft carriers, missile carriers, amphibious support vessels and submarines.