To date (2020), the United States Navy (USN) has taken on a total of sixty-eight guided-missile destroyers belonging to the Arleigh Burke-class. This makes the group one of the more important surface combatants available to the service alongside its formidable fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines. The class started construction in 1988 just as the Cold War (1947-1991) was beginning to wind down with commissioning of the first vessels had in 1991. As such, the design is rooted in Cold War-era thinking and strategies but can still provide a myriad of solutions to modern day warplanners.
One of the Arleigh Burke-class' number is USS Mason (DDG-87) which is part of the more advanced "Flight IIA" sub-group. She was built by Bath Iron Works with construction beginning in January 2000. Formally launched in June of 2001, she was officially commissioned into the USN on April 12th, 2003 and currently (2020) homeports out of Norfolk, Virginia fighting under the motto of "Proudly We Serve".
USS Mason is named after the origin USS Mason (DE-529) destroyer of the World War 2 (1939-1945) period. This incarnation operated from 1944 until 1945 but is notable for having a largely African-American crew during a time of heavy segregation in the U.S. military.
Mason's design follows the standard set with USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51). There is a sole turreted deck gun at the forecastle with a Vertical Launching System (VLS) embedded into the hull deck just aft. The hull superstructure is sharply stepped, leading up to the bridge section. Atop this structure is a traditional exposed main mast seating all manner of communications, sensors, radars and the like. The smoke funnels are enclosed and of a low-profile design with two structures housing the components near midships. This results in a noticeable brake in the design at center. The aft smoke funnels are integrated as part of the rear hull superstructure section which also includes a full-service helicopter hangar leading out to a helipad over the stern.
Due to its Cold War roots, USS Mason lacks the sleek stealthy styling common to more modern surface combatants.
Displacing 9,200 tons, the vessel is propelled by an internal arrangement of 4 x General Electric LM2500-30 series gas turbines developing 100,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts under stern. This gives the warship headway speed just beyond 30 knots, making her quite fast in ideal conditions. Operating range is out to 4,400 nautical miles.
Aboard is a crew of 380 officers and enlisted personnel. Systems include the AN/SPY-1D 3D radar, surface-search radar, fire-control support, navigational aids, LAMPS III shipboard system, in-hull sonar, and a towed sonar array. All this provides the ship with the needed capability to search, track, and engage against aerial, surface, and undersea threats at range.
The armament suite is an expected mix of projectile and missile weapons: there is 1 x 5" (127mm) /62 caliber Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun in a fully-traversable turret over the forecastle providing a dual-purpose solution. Behind this are 2 x 25mm Mk 38 autocannons, 1 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In-Weapon System (CIWS), and 4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) for closer threats. The heart and soul of the suite is the 96-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) housing RIM-66 Standard Missile 2 (surface-to-air), BGM-109 "Tomahawk" (land-attack cruise), and/or RUM-139 VL-ASROC missile types (Anti-Submarine ROCket). She also carriers 2 x Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes supporting the Mk 46 torpedo family.
Because the Mason offers a combination helipad/hangar arrangement, it can launch and retrieve up to two Sikorsky SH-60 "Sea Hawk" helicopters. These aircraft can be further equipped for various at-sea roles including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), anti-ship sorties, Search and Rescue (SAR), replenishment, and general support - giving the ship additional long-range, over-the-horizon capabilities needed on today's modern battlefield.
USS Mason's baptism of fire occurred during Operation Iraqi Freedom following the terrorist attacks on American soil on 9/11. Her contribution took place in 2004 and lasted for six months. Since then, she has been operated with various flagships including the powerful carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2008. She remained offshore LIbya during the Libyan Civil War (2011) and combated pirates.
October 2016 - USS Mason was the target of missiles launched from the Yemeni coast on October 10th, 2016. The missiles fell sort of their target and were fired from Houthi-controlled territory as part of the ongoing Yemeni-Saudi war that involves Iranian support for the former. She survived all of the presented scenarios without damage and eventually returned stateside.
USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51); USS Barry (DDG-52); USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53); USS Curtis Wilber (DDG-54); USS Stout (DDG-55); USS John S. McCain (DDG-56); USS Mitscher (DDG-57); USS Laboon (DDG-58); USS Russell (DDG-59); USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60); USS Ramage (DDG-61); USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62); USS Stethem (DDG-63); USS Carney (DDG-64); USS Benfold (DDG-65); USS Gonzalez (DDG-66); USS Cole (DDG-67); USS The Sullivans (DDG-68); USS Milius (DDG-69); USS Hopper (DDG-70); USS Ross (DDG-71); USS Mahan (DDG-72); USS Decatur (DDG-73); USS McFaul (DDG-74); USS Donald Cook (DDG-75); USS Higgins (DDG-76); USS O'Kane (DDG-77); USS Porter (DDG-78); USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79); USS Roosevelt (DDG-80); USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81); USS Lassen (DDG-82); USS Howard (DDG-83); USS Bulkeley (DDG-84); USS McCampbell (DDG-85); USS Shoup (DDG-86); USS Mason (DDG-87); USS Preble (DDG-88); USS Mustin (DDG-89); USS Chafee (DDG-90); USS Pinkney (DDG-91); USS Momsen (DDG-92); USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93); USS Nitze (DDG-94); USS James E. Williams (DDG-95); USS Bainbridge (DDG-96); USS Halsey (DDG-97); USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98); USS Farragut (DDG-99); USS Kidd (DDG-100); USS Gridley (DDG-101); USS Sampson (DDG-102); USS Truxtun (DDG-103); USS Sterett (DDG-104); USS Dewey (DDG-105); USS Stockdale (DDG-106); USS Gravely (DDG-107); USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108); USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109); USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110); USS Spruance (DDG-111); USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112); USS John Finn (DDG-113); USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114); USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115); USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116); USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117); Daniel Inouye (DDG-118); Delbert D. Black (DDG-119); Unnamed (DDG-120); Unnamed (DDG-121); Unnamed (DDG-122; Unnamed (DDG-122); Unnamed (DDG-123); Unnamed (DDG-124); Unnamed (DDG-125); Unnamed (DDG-126)
(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.
509.5 ft 155.30 m
66.0 ft 20.12 m
31.0 ft 9.45 m
4 x General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines developing 100,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts.
30.0 kts (34.5 mph)
4,345 nm (5,000 mi | 8,047 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) /62 caliber turreted deck gun.
1 x 64-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) for RIM-66 SM-2, BGM-109 "Tomahawk", or RUM-139 ASROC missiles.
1 x 32-cell Mk 41 VLS.
2 x 25mm chain guns.
1 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS)
2 x Mk 46 triple torpedo launchers.
4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Sea Hawk navalized medium-lift helicopters.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.
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