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Naval Warfare

USS Knox (FF-1052)

Destroyer Escort [ 1969 ]

USS Knox FF-1052 led her class of 46-strong frigates serving the United States Navy during the tumultuous Cold War period.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/01/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

Destroyed, Scrapped.

Todd Pacific Shipyards - USA
(View other Ship-Related Manufacturers)

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.

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
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.
Fleet Support
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

Installed Power: 2 x Combustion Engineering (CE) boilers feeding 1 x Westinghouse geared steam turbine developing 35,000 horsepower to 1 x Shaft astern.
Surface Speed
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.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile

(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).

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

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Image of the USS Knox (FF-1052)
Image from the National Archives and Records department.


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