The Soviet Navy evolved considerably after World War 2 (1939-1945) and became a global threat to the West in the many decades that followed. To match the service pound-for-pound, the United States Navy (USN) invested heavily in many vessel types including destroyers. One of the more critical designs, indeed also one of the most successful of the early Cold War period, was the Charles F. Adams-class which numbered twenty-nine ships (twenty-three for the USN with three apiece built for West Germany and Australia to a slightly revised standard). The vessels were 3,300 ton warships equipped as "guided-missile destroyers" capable of Blue Water service, operating either independently or as part of the main fighting fleet.
The lead-ship became USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2) built by Bath Iron Works with the keel laid down on June 16th, 1958. The ship was launched on September 8th, 1959 and entered commissioned service on September 10th, 1960 - becoming the first dedicated guided-missile destroyer in the USN (while also being the last steam-powered ships for the branch).
Initially, the warships were to be a subsequent class of the Forrest Sherman-type and Adams was intended to carry the Pennant Number "DD-952". However, the vastly redesigned battlefield role for the new ship caused the class to become its own group, led by DDG-2 herself.
As guided-missile destroyers, the class showcased a primary missile-minded armament suite. This involved the Mk 11 missile launcher for the RIM-24 "Tartar" Surface-t-Air Missile (SAM) weapon. Beyond this, the warship was rather conventional with its armament array: 2 x 5" turreted deck guns, 1 x RUR-5 Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) launcher, and 2 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes. This gave the vessel strong at-range capabilities against aerial, surface, and under water threats. Beyond this the ship carried the AN/SPS-39 3D air-search radar, the AN/SPS-10 surface-search radar, and AN/SPG-51 missile Fire Control Radar (FCR). Consistent with other ships of the period, the Adams and her class also carried sonar.
Aboard was a crew of 354 that included 24 officers and 330 enlisted personnel. Power was from 4 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 2 x General Electric steam turbines developing 70,000 horsepower driving 2 x Shafts under stern. In ideal conditions, this gave the destroyer a true headway speed of 33 knots and a range out to 4,500 nautical miles. Dimensions included a running length of 437 feet, a beam of 47 feet, and a draught of 15 feet. Displacement was 3,2780 tons under standard loads and up to 4,525 tons under full loads.
Besides friendly port-of-calls throughout Middle East and Indian waters, Adams was used as part of the recovery operation to secure the Mercury 8 mission capsule. It was also pressed into blockade service during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Adams was not part of the modernization given to other vessels of the class and was therefore decommissioned on August 1st, 1990 and had her name struck from the Naval Register. Attempts were made at preserving the vessel as a floating museum but these fell to naught - the stripped hull was scrapped in Brownsville, Texas as recently as 2020.
Status Decommissioned, Out-of-Service
Complement 354 Personnel
Ship Class [ Charles F. Adams-class ] Ships-in-Class [ 29 ]Ship Names:USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2); USS John King (DDG-3); USS Lawrence (DDG-4); USS Claude V Ricketts (DDG-5); USS Barney (DDG-6); USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7); USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8); USS Towers (DDG-9); USS Sampson (DDG-10); USS Sellers (DDG-11); USS Robison (DDG-12); USS Hoel (DDG-13); USS Buchanan (DDG-14); USS Berkeley (DDG-15); USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16); USS Conyngham (DDG-17); USS Semmes (DDG-18); USS Tattnall (DDG-19); USS Goldsborough (DDG-20); USS Cochrane (DDG-21); USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG-22); USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23); USS Waddell (DDG-24); WEST GERMANY: Lutjens (D185); Molders (D186); Rommel (D187); AUSTRALIA: HMAS Perth (D38); HMAS Hobart (D39); HMAS Brisbane (D41)
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
437 ft (133.20 m)
Width / Beam:
47 ft (14.33 m)
Height / Draught:
15 ft (4.57 m)
4 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 2 x General Electric steam turbines developing 70,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.
33 kts (38 mph)
4,501 nm (5,180 miles; 8,336 km)
2 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 42 turreted deck guns.
1 x Mk 11 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher for RIM-24 Tartar / RIM-66 Standard SM-1 series.
1 x RUR-5 Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) launcher.
2 x 324mm Marck 32 triple torpedo tubes.
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