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Charles F. Adams-class Guided Missile Destroyer

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Aerial view of the U.S. Navy Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyer USS Berkeley (DDG-15) underway on August 2nd, 1984.
The Charles F. Adams-class is a ship class of thirty guided missile destroyers built between 1958 and 1967. Twenty three destroyers were built for the United States Navy, a quartet for the Royal Australian Navy, and three for the West German Bundesmarine. The design of these ships was based on that of Forrest Sherman-class destroyers, but the Charles F. Adams-class were the first class designed to serve as guided missile destroyers. 19 feet (5.8 m) of length was added to the center of the design of the Forrest Sherman-class to carry the ASROC launcher, and the boilers were upgraded from 600 psi (4,100 kPa) to 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers. Both changes caused significant maintenance problems in the long run for all the ships. The Charles F. Adams-class destroyers were the last steam turbine-powered destroyers built for the U.S. Navy. Starting with the later Spruance-class destroyers, all U.S. Navy destroyers have been powered by gas turbines. Some of the destroyers of the Charles F. Adams-class served during the blockade of Cuba in 1962 and during the War in Vietnam.

Although designed with cutting-edge technology for the 1950s, by the mid-1970s it was clear to the Navy that the Charles F. Adams-class destroyers were not prepared to deal with modern air attacks and guided missile. To reduce this vulnerability, the Navy began the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) program. This consisted of a number of sensor, weapons and communications upgrades that were intended to extend the service lives of the ships. Under the NTU, these destroyers received improved electronic warfare capability through the installation of the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 EW Suite.

The upgraded combat system would include the MK86 Gun Fire Control System with AN/SPQ-9 radar, the Hughes AN/SPS-52C 3D radar, the AN/SPG-51C (Digital) Fire Control Radars, and the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). These ships were also planned to have the ability to launch several Harpoon antiship missiles, which were to be installed in their MK-11 Tartar missile launcher.

During the 1980s, the Reagan Administration chose to accelerate production of the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and build the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers as replacements for these and other classes of destroyers, and of nuclear-powered cruisers. The result of this was that only three of these destroyers, Tattnall, Goldsborough, and Benjamin Stoddert received the full upgrade.

Other ships, of the class, such as Charles F. Adams, received only partial upgrades, which included the AN/SLQ-32 and Harpoon Missile upgrades, that were intended to extend their service lives until the Arleigh Burke-class could reach operational capability.

The United States Navy decommissioned its last Charles F. Adams-class destroyer, the Goldsborough, on April 29th 1993. The Australian and German navies decommissioned their last ships of this class by 2003. Four ships of this class were transferred to the Hellenic Navy in 1992, but those have also been decommissioned.

The Charles F. Adams has been placed on inactive hold status and there are attempts by private groups to have it preserved as a museum ship. Mölders (D186) was made into a museum ship, but all of the other destroyers in the class have been sunk as targets, sunk for diving wrecks or sold for scrap.

Specifications[edit]

Original Configuration[edit]

  • Type: Guided Missile Destroyer
  • Service Period: 1960-1993 (USN); 1963-2001 (RAN); 1969-2003 (BM); 1992-2004 (HN)
  • Characteristics:
    • Length: 437 feet (133.2 meters)
    • Beam: 47 feet (14.33 meters)
    • Beam: 15 feet (4.57 meters)
    • Displacement:
  • Crew: 322
  • Propulsion: 4 x 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers, 2 x steam turbines, 70,000 shp
  • Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,334 kilometers) at 20 knots (37.04 km/h)
  • Speed: 33 knots (61.12 km/h)
  • Sensor Suite:
    • AN/SPS-10 Surface Search Radar x 1
    • AN/SPS-37 Air Search Radar x 1
    • AN/SPS-39 3D Air Search Radar x 1
    • AN/SPG-51 Tartar Fire Control Radar x 2
    • AN/SPG-53 Gun Fire Control Radar x 1
    • AN/SQS-23 Sonar
  • Armament:
    • 1 x 5"/54-caliber Mk.42 naval gun
    • 1 x Mk.11/13 single arm missile launcher (fires RIM-24 Tartar, RIM-66 Standard, and RGM-84 Harpoon)
    • 1 x 8-cell Mk.112 ASROC Launcher (fires RUR-5 ASROC)
    • 2 x 12.75" Mk.32 triple torpedo tubes

New Threat Upgrade[edit]

  • Type: Guided Missile Destroyer
  • Service Period: 1960-1993 (USN); 1963-2001 (RAN); 1969-2003 (BM); 1992-2004 (HN)
  • Characteristics:
    • Length: 437 feet (133.2 meters)
    • Beam: 47 feet (14.33 meters)
    • Beam: 15 feet (4.57 meters)
    • Displacement:
  • Crew: 322
  • Propulsion: 4 x 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers, 2 x steam turbines, 70,000 shp
  • Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,334 kilometers) at 20 knots (37.04 km/h)
  • Speed: 33 knots (61.12 km/h)
  • Sensor Suite:
    • AN/SYR-1 Communications Tracking Set
    • AN/SYS-2(V)1 Integrated Automatic Detection and Tracking System
    • AN/SPQ-9 Fire Control Radar
    • AN/SPS-49(V)5 2D Air Search Radar
    • AN/SPG-51 Standard Fire Control Radar
    • AN/SPS-52C 3D Long Range Air Search Radar
    • Mk.14 Weapons Direction System
    • Mk.74 Tartar Guided Missile Fire Control System
    • Mk.86 Gun Fire Control System
    • Advanced Combat Direction System
    • Naval Tactical Data System
    • Radar Environmental Simulator System
  • Countermeasures:
    • AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare Suite
  • Armament:
    • 1 x 5"/54-caliber Mk.42 naval gun
    • 1 x Mk.11/13 single arm missile launcher (fires RIM-24 Tartar, RIM-66 Standard, and RGM-84 Harpoon)
    • 1 x 8-cell Mk.112 ASROC Launcher (fires RUR-5 ASROC)
    • 2 x 12.75" Mk.32 triple torpedo tubes

Unit Run[edit]

United States Navy[edit]

  • USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-02) - Museum Ship
  • USS John King (DDG-03) - scrapped
  • USS Lawrence (DDG-04) - scrapped
  • USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-05) - scrapped
  • USS Barney (DDG-06) - scrapped
  • USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-07) - sunk as target ship
  • USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-08) - sunk as target ship
  • USS Towers (DDG-09) - sunk as target ship
  • USS Sampson (DDG-10) - scrapped
  • USS Sellers (DDG-11) - scrapped
  • USS Robison (DDG-12) - scrapped
  • USS Hoel (DDG-13) - Converted to power barge, then scrapped
  • USS Buchanan (DDG-14) - scrapped
  • USS Berkeley (DDG-15) - Sold to Greece as Themistocles (D-221), scrapped later
  • USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) - Sold to Greece as Formion (D-220), scrapped later
  • USS Conyngham (DDG-17) - scrapped
  • USS Semmes (DDG-18) - Sold to Greece as Kimon (D-218), scrapped later
  • USS Tattnall (DDG-19) - scrapped
  • USS Goldsborough (DDG-20) - Sold to Australia as a parts hulk, scrapped later
  • USS Cochrane (DDG-21) - scrapped
  • USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG-22) - Sank while under tow en route for scrapping
  • USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) - Sold to Greece for parts, sunk as target later
  • USS Waddell (DDG-24) - Sold to Greece as Nearchos (D-219), sunk as target later
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-25) - built for Australia as HMAS Perth (D38)
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-26) - built for Australia as HMAS Hobart (D39)
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-27) - built for Australia as HMAS Brisbane (D41)
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-28) - built for Germany as BMS Lütjens (D185)
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-29) - built for Germany as BMS Mölders (D186)
  • USS Unnamed (DDG-30) - built for Germany as BMS Rommel (D187)

Bundesmarine[edit]

  • BMS Lütjens (D185)
  • BMS Mölders (D186)
  • BMS Rommel (D187)

Royal Australian Navy[edit]

  • HMAS Perth (D38)
  • HMAS Hobart (D39)
  • HMAS Brisbane (D41)
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