DLGN-43 Fletcher Class
usnc-fletchersmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts and lower hull details taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 596 ft
Beam 61 ft
Draft 31.5 ft
Displacement (Standard) 9,561 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 10,450 tons
Performance Speed (max) 33 knots
Armament Guns 1 5 inch L54
Medium-range SAM 60 Terrier
ASW 20 ASROC
Aircraft 1 helicopter

Background

The Fletcher class started life as an evolved version of the Bainbridge class correcting the deficiencies of the first group. Originally the design was to have included two five inch guns, one forward, one aft, but the aft mount was replaced by a hangar and flight deck for a medium helicopter early in the design process. The Fletcher class was primarily seen as a screen for the Texas class aircraft carriers. With a force level of four DLGNs per carrier and four Texas class carriers projected, the class number was set at 16 ships.

The design evolved considerably during the gap between the Bainbridge and Fletcher class orders. A key factor was the introduction of a new command and control system that integrated all the ship's functions into a centralized architecture. This was the cause of acute problems in the early days of the class since it was discovered, during the lead ship's trials, that all the weapons systems relied on computers that used different internal standards and thus none of them would interact with each other or the command system. Although Fletcher was actually ready for commissioning in 1970, her electronics suite was completely inoperable and this delayed commissioning of the class by two years. Other ships in the class were delayed by comparable periods and the problems were only finally solved with the delivery of the last four ships, some three years behind schedule.

By the time the last Fletcher class DLGN was delivered in 1974, the U.S. Navy had six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in commission with sixteen nuclear-powered cruisers (Six Long Beach and ten Improved Long Beach class) and 24 DLGNs (eight Bainbridge and sixteen Fletcher class). Thus, the Navy had six fully-equipped nuclear-powered task forces in full service with a seventh carrier working up but not yet commissioned.

Class Members

Number Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
DLGN-43 Fletcher 1965 1965 1968 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2008
DLGN-44 Mayo 1965 1965 1968 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2008
DLGN-45 Caperton 1965 1965 1968 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2008
DLGN-46 Benson 1965 1965 1968 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2008
DLGN-47 Knight 1966 1966 1969 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2009
DLGN-48 Sims 1966 1966 1969 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2009
DLGN-49 Wilson 1966 1966 1969 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2009
DLGN-50 Rodham 1966 1966 1969 1972 Decommissioned and scrapped 2009
DLGN-51 Gleaves 1967 1967 1970 1973 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-52 Coontz 1967 1967 1970 1973 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-53 Strauss 1967 1967 1970 1973 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-54 Jones 1967 1967 1970 1973 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-55 Eberle 1968 1968 1971 1974 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-56 Anderson 1968 1968 1971 1974 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-57 Robison 1968 1968 1971 1974 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-58 Hughes 1968 1968 1971 1974 In active service as of 2009
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