DLGN-83 Husband E Kimmel Class
usnc-Kimmelsmall.jpg
Note: drawing contains some parts and lower hull details taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 666 ft
Beam 68 ft
Draft 33.0 ft
Displacement (Standard) 12,200 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 14,100 tons
Performance Speed (max) 33 knots
Armament Guns 2 5 inch L54
Medium-range SAM 100 Standard SM-1MR
Close-range SAM 16 Sea Falcon
ASW 28 ASROC
Torpedoes 6 14 inch.
Aircraft 2 rotodynes

Background

While DLGN construction almost ground to a halt during the disastrous years of the Carter Presidency, design work did not and was concentrated on producing an entirely new class of DLGN. This design was almost ready for production in 1982 when the Falklands War showed the merits of the British-designed vertical launch system for missiles and it was decided that the new class should include an American version of this concept. This led to some delays in construction as the ships were redesigned to accommodate the new system. The resulting ships were significantly larger than originally planned since, although the 64-round VLS installed fore and aft did not occupy more space than the horizontal-loading magazines (in fact, they actually occupied rather less) the entire length of the magazine had to be clear of the superstructure while in earlier classes the below-decks end of the magazine overlapped the superstructure. The combination of greater hull size and smaller missile magazines meant the ships had a lot of internal space. This allowed for an extra five inch gun to be worked in aft, living accommodation to be greatly improved and two short-range Sea Falcon missile launchers to be installed forward of the bridge. As a result, the final design was considered to be highly satisfactory and was regarded as the "ultimate DLGN".

By 1983 there were 48 DLGNs in service as against a requirement for 60 (with an equal shortfall in the number of CGNs, there being 24 in service as opposed to a requirement for 30. The cruiser requirement was made up by using Jackson class DLGNs in their place but this further cut the number of DLGNs available to 42. With a deficiency of 18 DLGNs and more carriers requiring escorts due to commission, the screening problem in the late 1970s and early 1980s was severe. Even the deployment of Leahy class DLGs with the nuclear-powered groups was unable to fill the gaps. One of the first acts of the Reagan administration was to recognize this deficiency and institute a major construction program that would provice the fleet with 30 Kimmel class DLGNs and 12 new CGNs. This construction program started in 1981 witha budget supplemental that ordered six Kimmel class ships but the redesign described above meant that they could not be ordered and the six ships were reprogrammed as CGNs. The first Kimmel class ships were actually ordered in 1984 with eight ships budgeted in that year.

This led to an interesting controversy. It had been Navy intention to name all the DLGNs after four-star Admirals using surnames only. The next Admiral on the list was Husband E Kimmel and the lead ship was accordingly to have been named the Kimmel. This caused a barrage of complaints from pacific Fleet veterans who regarded the truncated name as an insult to their beloved Admiral. Admiral Kimmel had commanded the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet from 1941 to 1947 and his unprecedented six-year command tenure had raised levels of training and morale in the Pacific Fleet to remarkable levels. His skills both as a commander and a leader had been responsible for making the Pacific Fleet becoming an efficient fighting force despite being equipped with older ships considered not suitable for service in the bitter fighting of the North Atlantic. In addition, the Pacific Fleet served as a massive training ground for newly-commissioned ships that would work up there before joining the Atlantic Fleet. Admiral Kimmel managed to maintain morale in his command despite its obscurity and lack of recognition and his efforts were rewarded by his immense popularity with the officers and enlisted men under his command. Of course, after the Second World War, Admiral Kimmel went on to higher posts, ending up as the Chief of Naval Operations.

Swamped by letters, telegrams and personal complaints from the Pacific Fleet veterans over the perceived insult to their hero, the Navy reversed course and announced that the lead DLGN of the new class would be named the Husband E Kimmel and would be christened as such by the deceased Admiral's son, Admiral Manning Marius Kimmel. When Admiral Manning Kimmel arrived in Norfolk for the commissioning ceremony he found the city crowded with Pacific Fleet veterans who had come from all over the United States to watch the ceremony. The crowd was far more that the shipyard could accommodate so Newport News Shipbuilding set up cinema screens in a variety of nearby locations to show the ceremony live.

The same naming convention that had led to the class being named in honor of Admiral Kimmel also resulted in the class bearing the names of many of the most distinguised Admirals of World War Two. Another controversy resulted when it was decided to omit Admiral Spruance from the list since that Admiral had been held partly responsible for the loss of the Shiloh on the last day of the war. This decision was denounced as being petty and mean-spirited and, in honesty, the Navy itself was rather shame-faced about the decision to omit Admiral Spruance from the list. This gained force later when more dispassionate reviews of the events leading to the sinking suggested that Admiral Spruance's culpability was much less than the immeditae post-war investigations had concluded. Eventually, teh Navy "made it right" by giving him his DLGN late in the construction of the Kimmel class.

With the commissioning of DLGN-114 in 1992, the surge in construction of the Kimmel class had resulted in the number of DLGNs in active service reaching 74, slightly more than enough to meet the corce structure requirements. However, the older Bainbridge class DLGNs were showing their age and, although the Jackson class DLGNs would be released from their quasi-cruiser duties in the near future to replace them, it was decided that another group of eight Kimmel class ships should be built to provide immediate replacements for the Bainbridges and to keep the DLGN design process in being. These eight ships were built at a slow rate during the early 1990s.

The last of the class, DLGN-122 Brown was ordered in 1996 and delivered in 2001. At that time, it was becoming apparent that the older DLGNs were becoming due for replacement and that a new construction program would become necessary. With a required force structure of 72 DLGNs and each ship having an anticipated life of 30 years, a construction rate of three per year was necessary to ensure the modernity of the fleet. The existing Kimmel Class was considered to be a suitable basis for the new class and was simply modified to carry the new equipment that ahd become available in the years since the original class was designed. The first ships of the "Modified Kimmel Class" were ordered in 2003 and entered service in 2008 to start the replacement of the Fletcher Class

Class Members

Number Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
DLGN-83 Husband E Kimmel 1984 1984 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-84 King 1984 1984 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-85 Nimitz 1984 1984 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-86 Ingersoll 1984 1984 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-87 Halsey 1984 1985 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-88 Ingram 1984 1985 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-89 Horne 1984 1985 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-90 Edwards 1984 1985 1987 1989 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-91 Hewitt 1985 1985 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-92 Kincaid 1985 1985 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-93 Turner 1985 1985 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-94 Robinson 1985 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-95 McCain 1985 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-96 Towers 1985 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-97 Ramsey 1985 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-98 Denfeld 1985 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-99 Cooke 1986 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-100 Mitscher 1986 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-101 Moreell 1986 1986 1988 1990 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-102 Conolly 1986 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-103 Blandy 1986 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-104 Radford 1986 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-105 Sherman 1987 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-106 Fechteler 1987 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-107 Carney 1987 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-108 McCormick 1987 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-109 Duncan 1987 1987 1989 1991 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-110 Stump 1987 1988 1990 1992 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-111 Wright 1988 1988 1990 1992 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-112 Cassady 1988 1988 1990 1992 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-113 Burke 1988 1988 1990 1992 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-114 Briscoe 1988 1988 1990 1992 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-115 Boone 1989 1989 1992 1994 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-116 Felt 1990 1990 1993 1995 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-117 Curts 1991 1991 1994 1996 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-118 Holloway 1992 1992 1995 1997 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-119 Hopwood 1993 1993 1996 1998 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-120 Russell 1994 1994 1997 1999 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-121 Spruance 1995 1995 1998 2000 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-122 Brown 1996 1996 1999 2001 In active service as of 2009

Modified Kimmel Class

Number Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
DLGN-123 Dennison 2003 2003 2006 2008 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-124 Smith 2003 2003 2006 2008 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-125 Sides 2003 2003 2006 2008 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-126 Anderson 2004 2004 2007 2009 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-127 Ricketts 2004 2004 2007 2009 In active service as of 2009
DLGN-128 McDonald 2004 2004 2007 2009 In active service as of 2009
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