The Knox-class fighting frigate was an all-important addition to the United States Navy (USN) inventory in the early Cold War (1946-1991) period. The group was an evolutionary step in the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) category and proved ultra-critical to global operations by the service - particularly as the Soviet Navy's underwater force proved an adversary to be reckoned with. While 55 of the class were planned, 46 were ultimately completed with nine being cancelled. All served solely with the USN and two ended up as floating museum ships, the class doomed by ballooning operating costs and aging technologies.
The class' design began along the lines of "Ocean Escort", which was itself an evolution of the World War 2 (1939-1945) era "Destroyer Escort" surface warships. In time (post-June 1975), the Ocean Escort classification was dropped in favor of the more conventional "Frigate" naming convention.
The lead ship of the class was USS Knox (FF-1052) and named after Commodore Dudley Wright Knox (1877-1960), a U.S. veteran of both World Wars. The warship was awarded to Todd Pacific Shipyards of Seattle, Washington in July of 1964 and saw her keel laid down on October 5th, 1965. On November 19th, 1966, she was officially launched and taken into USN service on March 28th, 1969. Later that year, on April 12th, the warship was formally commissioned. Her original hull identifier was DE-1052 when classified a Destroyer Escort. This was eventually changed to FF-1052 upon her reclassification to Frigate.
As completed, the frigate displaced 3,070 tons under standard load and 4,130 tons under full load. Overall length reached 438 feet with a beam of 46.8 feet and a draught down to 24.8 feet. Power was from 2 x Combustion Engineering (CE) boiler units feeding 1 x Westinghouse geared steam turbine, developing 35,000 horsepower to drive a single shaft astern. Maximum speed under ideal conditions could reach beyond the listed 27 knots and range was a useful 5,200 miles (4,500 nautical miles).
Aboard was a crew complement made up of 16 officers and 211 enlisted personnel. The ship carried the AN/SPS-10 surface search and AN/SPS-40 air search radar fits as well as AN/SQS-26CX conar, AN/SQS-35 IVDS towed sonar array, and the AN/SLQ-32 series Electronic Warfare (EW) suite.
Armament was a modest mix of ballistic, missile, and rocket weaponry; there was 1 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 42 series turreted deck gun over the forecastle, 1 x 8-tube launcher for the "Harpoon" anti-submarine missile or Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) solution, and 1 x 8-cell launcher housing the RIM-7 "Sea Sparrow" medium-range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) weapon system.
Beyond this, the warship supported a single Kaman SH-2 "Seasprite" (LAMPS I equipped in later forms) navy helicopter as well as the DASH helicopter drone, both of which could be armed with ship-sinking torpedoes and patrol beyond-the-horizon.
Once in service from 1969 onward, with the Vietnam War (1955-1975) in full swing, USS Knox was stationed in the Pacific Theater where she was used to run the gamut of ASW-related sorties but also included surveillance, blockade, and Search & Rescue (SAR) initiatives. In 1975, along with other American assets, she was used to good effect to evacuate U.S. military personnel from Phnom Penh during Operation Eagle Pull". Just after this, she was reclassified to a Frigate and handed a new hull designation (the aforementioned "FF-1052"). Beyond this, and with the Cold War ending in 1991, there was little more notable action, leading to her ultimate decommissioning on February 14th, 1992. She was struck from the Naval Register in January 1995 and ultimately sunk as a target ship off the coast of Guam in August of 2007. This was part of Exercise Valiant Shield, a massive U.S. wargame in the Pacific.
During the course of her decades-long ocean-going career, the ship and her crews were awarded multiple ribbons and medals including the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (with two Bronze Stars), Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary (with Bronze Star), Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal (with Bronze Star), and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
USS Know (FF-1052); USS Roark (FF-1053); USS Gray (FF-1054); USS Hapburn (FF-1055); USS Connole (FF-1056); USS Rathburne (FF-1057); USS Meyerkord (FF-1058); USS W.S. Sims (FF-1059); USS Lang (FF-1060); USS Patterson (FF-1064); USS Whipple (FF-1062); USS Reasoner (FF-1063); USS Lockwood (FF-1064); USS Stein (FF-1065); USS Marvin Shields (FF-1066); USS Francis Hammond (FF-1067); USS Vreeland (FF-1068); USS Bagley (FF-1069); USS Downes (FF-1070); USS Badger (FF-1071); USS Blakely (FF-1072); USS Robert E. Peary (FF-1073); USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074); USS Trippe (FF-1075); USS Fanning (FF-1076); USS Ouellet (FF-1077); USS Joseph Hewes (FF-1078); USS Bowen (FF-1079); USS Paul (FF-1080); USS Aylwin (FF-1081); USS Elmer Montgomery (FF-1082); USS Cook (FF-1083); USS McCandless (FF-1084); USS Donald B. Beary (FF-1085); USS Brewton (FF-1086); USS Kirk (FF-1087); USS Barbey (FF-1088); USS Jesse L. Brown (FF-1089); USS Ainsworth (FF-1090); USS Miller (FF-1091); USS Thomas C. Hart (FF-1092); USS Capodanno (FF-1093); USS Pharris (FF-1094); USS Truett (FF-1095); USS Valdez (FF-1096); DE-1098 through DE-1100 and DE-1102 through DE-1107 were unnamed vessels and cancelled.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
✓Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
Onboard systems alert and protect the vessel from airborne, low-flying airborne threats through ballistic and / or missile weaponry.
An Over-the-Horizon operational capability is granted to the vessel, typically through launched fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft.
The vessel supports the launching of missiles against airborne, waterborne, or land-based targets at range; typical of modern designs.
Ability to launch salvo of rockets against submarine threats.
438.0 ft 133.50 m
46.8 ft 14.26 m
24.8 ft 7.56 m
2 x Combustion Engineering (CE) boilers feeding 1 x Westinghouse geared steam turbine developing 35,000 horsepower to 1 x Shaft astern.
27.5 kts (31.6 mph)
4,519 nm (5,200 mi | 8,369 km)
kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers
1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
1 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 42 turreted deck gun.
1 x 8-tube Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) / "Harpoon" anti-ship missile launcher.
1 x 8-cell RIM-7 "Sea Sparrow" medium-ranged Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher.
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
1 x Kaman SH-2 "Seasprite" LAMPS I navalized helicopter.
1 x DASH Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) / rotary-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.