The thirty-one Spruance-class destroyers were developed for the primary mission of anti-submarine warfare, including operations as an integral part of attack carrier forces.
Utilizing highly developed weapons systems (such as the AN/SQS-53B Hull Mounted Sonar and the AN/SQR-l9 (V) 3 Tactical Towed Array Sonar) the Spruance-class destroyers were designed to hunt down and destroy high speed submarines in all weather, but could also engage ships, aircraft, and shore targets. These multi-purpose combatants were also capable of providing naval gunfire support in conjunction with Marine amphibious operations worldwide.
Despite their capabilities, the US Navy retired the Spruance-class destroyers somewhat earlier than planned, decommissioning the last ship in 2005. Most Spruances were broken up or destroyed as targets (former USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964) now serves as a Self Defense Test Ship for experimental US Navy weapons and sensors). The class was succeeded as the main destroyer by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
‘I have been pinged once by a surface ship. We were entering port near dawn and our Officer of the Deck was doing his periscope sweeps before surfacing. He sighted a nearby ship and then announced they had launched a helo. We dove deep and went full ahead.
‘With fifteen minutes this weird sound started emanating in our ship. It’s not a ping. It sounds more a blue whale has decided to open up an EDM club and is showing off its sick new beats. It’s a wavering sound that goes up and down in pitch.
‘When I am saying pinged once, I am referring to hearing the SONAR through the hull. It could be heard on the mess decks over the TV burning a flick. The sonar operators heard plenty in sonar. Most of the time when we conducted PASSEX the SONAR was either passive only or the Active SONAR was far enough away that it could only be picked up by our sensors.’
Photo credit: Chief Journalist Alan J. Baribeau / U.S. Navy
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